by: FCC Staff
Better is open rebuke than hidden love.
Obviously it’s not our favorite thing to hear feedback for “improvement” or as our biblical translations put it “a rebuke.” However, we are arrogant in the extreme if we think there is never a need for someone to come alongside us with some recommendations on how we can improve.
Our proverb for today tells us an open rebuke is better than “hidden love.” We can take that to mean it’s better when someone who loves us speaks up and doesn’t hide a rebuke from us out of a sense of love (enabling us in the bad behavior), or more likely that it’s better to know how someone feels about you (even if it’s a rebuke) than to bury their feelings (even if it’s love).
Oftentimes, as Christians, we can get the impression that we are to be stoic, shove our emotions, even the ‘positive’ ones deep down, lest they get the best of us. Not so, we know from an earlier proverb that “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” (Proverbs 16:32) There are plenty of scriptures that tell us to exercise control, to rule over our emotions and not let them rule us. But nowhere does scripture tell us to bury our feelings.
In fact, in the famous “love passage” in 1 Corinthians, we learn that love “is not irritable or resentful,” but it is patient and kind. If we bury our feelings they will ferment into resentment, and that will cause us to be irritable. If we express our feelings, doing so with patience and kindness, we are doing so in love.
So we aren’t to fly off the handle or lash out to others when we are upset, or when they offer us a rebuke. They may be wrong, but “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.” (Proverbs 29:11) We often regret things said in anger and frustration, or when we feel defensive. We don’t have to ignore these feelings, but we do need to hold back, and speak the truth in love.
So today, whatever we are feeling, let’s be honest and loving about it. Let’s kindly accept rebuke, and not let loving encouragements go unspoken. Let’s be patient and kind with one another, and even if we don’t like someone’s rebuke, be open-minded and listen, and if nothing else honor the honesty of the person’s feelings. An honest rebuke truly is better than love that is hidden, because hidden motives, feelings, and agendas only work to divide, not unify.
Prayer for Today
Father let me be gracious in how I deal with others today. Let me be open with my feelings, without letting them cause me to stumble and sin. Help me to listen in love to others, and speak truth with the same motivation. Jesus teach me by your example how an open rebuke can benefit me. And most of all help me to not bury my feelings, especially my love for you. By your Holy Spirt guide me in paths of wisdom today. Amen.