23 ¶ He that rebukes a man afterwards shall find more favor than he that flatters with the tongue.
"It's good for what ails you."
Did you have a grandma, or a great-grandma, that swore by her special tonic? A special preparation . . .a closely guarded recipe . . . it was usually a foul-smelling, terrible-tasting liquid that you had to be held down and your nose clamped shut, so you'd open your mouth to breath, and then there went the spoon! Gulp!
Actually I didn't have a grandma that made me take tonic, but I recall hearing her tell stories of oldsters who had some and dispensed it with regularity, when "it was needed." (Grin)
The whole concept of something that was at first awful, and then good, is one that Solomon is referring to. No, really!
Those who flatter people may please them for a time, but when they've had time for second thoughts, the flattered person may despise them for their dishonesty. Perhaps they've indulged in sin -- if they are later convinced of the evil of their ways, they will be ashamed of the pride and vanity they showed, and how easily they were flattered. They'll be convinced (and they'll be correct) that the flatterer did badly by them, and that the dishonesty had an ill effect upon them.
One who reproves or rebukes their friend may have to bear the brunt of that friend's displeasure at the first, but when the passion is over, and the bitter "pill" has done its work, they will respect their friend for the courage and the love shown to them. If we deal faithfully with our friend, in telling her of her sin, at the present time there could be harsh words and argument. We may receive no thanks for having done our duty --- until later. Our friend will acknowledge our kindness, our wisdom, and our faithfulness to them. Our friendship will deepen.
No one likes to hear bad things about their behavior --- and if it is done with a self-righteous or pompous attitude, it surely will not be well received! But our advice to our friends should be based on our own experience, and on a knowledge of God's word. And it should be given with kindness, love, and a sweet spirit . . . as one who has been "in their shoes." If we are a true friend, we will be less concerned with someone's immediate approval of our words, as we are concerned with that person's long-term benefit and relationship with our Father.
We studied in Proverbs chapter 9:
Proverbs 9:8 Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.
Kinda like that tonic Grandma talked about, eh?