This verse continues the concepts of 27:5-6 (“open rebuke” and “wounds from a friend”). Here again is some confrontation, “he who rebukes another.”
But just like in chapter 27, it is eventually appreciated (“will in the end gain more favor”). Of course, it doesn’t say how long it will take for the one rebuked to get around to that place – but they do!
Also, as in 27:5-6, the rebuke is compared to someone else. Here it is “he who has a flattering tongue.” It isn’t clear if the one being flattered recognized the insincerity of the flatterer or not. But the one rebuked has greater appreciation for what he heard that the one who received just flattery.
While motives, attitudes and relationships between the participants does affect the scenario, it could generally be said that a good person can accept and appreciate an honest rebuke. The same good person would probably also recognize unadulterated flattery and would not take it as true.
In the end, a good person can greatly benefit from the rebuke and be little affected by the flattery. But beyond that, his response to the rebuke will probably be appreciation for the man who gave the rebuke and his response to the flatterer will probably be lack of confidence in both his words and his character.
So, let’s be honest with each other and be “speaking the truth in love.” It will benefit us both!