5 Better is open rebuke
than hidden love.
6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend;
profuse are the kisses of an enemy.
7 One who is full loathes honey,
but to one who is hungry everything bitter is sweet.
These three verses show three different aspects of the same concept. At the bottom of it all is the reality that the pain of being totally ignored is so great, that one would rather have a negative reaction from others, than no reaction at all.
Many a parent withholds (for whatever reasons) signs of true affection and acceptance from their children. And little will goad them more into misbehavior than such an environment. For at least scoldings and punishments make them noticed. At least then they have some sense of impact and that their presence is not meaningless to others. But when ignored, they are bereft of the love they so desperately desire – and thus to a starving soul, even the bitterness of a rebuke is at least something – even if it isn’t honey. It’ll do. The love may indeed be there – but if it is not expressed, do not be surprised if the child (and even later – the adult who has been raised this way) is found repeating outrageous behavior so as to be interacted with on an emotional level.
Now because this is true, such souls are liable to be drawn away into the snares of wicked people who would consume them like prey – because they will pour on profuse kisses where none have been before. We make them sitting ducks for sexual predators and others who would abuse them in relationships. The wounds of a “friend” are faithful. We know instinctively when we are being corrected in loving correction and when not. And if we correct our children only because they annoy us or embarrass us or disrupt us, the emotional vacuum left will indiscriminately draw in others who will take the utmost advantage of them by holding out the carrot stick of affection.
The one who is well loved and accepted and KNOWS it, because it has been communicated and demonstrated, will be guarded against the predators. But when left emotionally emaciated by their parents (husbands and wives be warned here too), will seek to fill that void with anything they can – anything or anybody that pretends to offer to meet that need. They will gravitate to the most toxic people, if there appears the slightest promise of genuine affection there.
This is precisely where John 3:16 comes into play. How is my soul to be fully satisfied in the love of God? In the cross! He SO loved us, that He gave His only Son. He did not love us from afar, silently or without demonstration – He sent His Son. He sent His Son to die – in our place. To take our wrath. To rebuke us for our sin, but in such a way that His faithfulness in love abounds. To make a way TO Him, the way that had been shut up by our sin in the Garden. To give us Heaven’s Sweetness, that we might not try to satiate our desires by consuming the pig’s pods of this world. And if we will take our fill of Him – how quickly desires for sin and the attempts to satisfy our souls on the dregs of this life will lose their attractiveness to us. We are fully accepted in the Beloved. And loved beyond measure. And that, in full display at Calvary.