An open rebuke is better than hidden love! Proverbs 27:5
I was talking to one friend recently who made a very pointed criticism of another mutual friend. It was obvious he has a sincere concern about our other friend, but instead of addressing it with him, he decided to mention it to me. Honestly I wondered how many other “friends” with whom he has had this same conversation. I simply told him I thought he should speak with our friend directly about his concerns.
This is such a difficult verse for some people…especially people pleasers…maybe even some pastors…because we are afraid to offend people, but the principle is that we must be willing to help those we love, even when it is uncomfortable.
Proverbs are principles. They aren’t promises from God as much as the are pieces of wisdom from God to help us live life better. The are commands as much as they are guidelines. You can live a very principled life and not be guaranteed success, but in the majority of circumstances, these principles work best. In this specific proverb, you are not guaranteed to be received well when you offer “an open rebuke”, but it is “better than hidden love”. We shouldn’t be constantly looking for flaws in other people and we should look at our own faults first, but when a friend is obviously making bad choices in life that will eventually cause them or others harm, when everyone else is already talking about the issue with everyone except the friend, the loving thing to do is to offer correction.
I believe the principle behind this proverb is simply that if you love someone…truly care for others…then you should be willing to confront the issues you see in their life. Sometimes others can see things in us that we can’t see in ourselves. If a friend or loved one is making bad decisions, as awkward and uncomfortable as it may be, it’s better to bring it to their attention than to ignore it in the name of love. I hear people say, “I don’t want to offend them” or “It’s none of my business”, but the idea here is that if you love someone enough, you’ll be willing to help them realize where they are making mistakes.
Is this tough for you? Do you agree or disagree with my assessment here?
If you are the one who needs rebuking, would you rather hear it from a friend, a stranger, or not at all?
Now the harder question, who in your life needs your “open rebuke” more than they need your “hidden love”?
Help me out with this post by adding your thoughts.