4 minute read
“Better is open rebuke than hidden love.” (Proverbs 27:5 NIV)
What you don’t say, people don’t know.
When people see you going down the wrong path, those that love you will try to stop you. Just like a mother protects her toddler from toppling, real friends do the same for us. Last year, when I was mad at my husband, I said things I shouldn’t. My sister-in-law, who heard me say them, corrected my behavior. In no uncertain terms, she told me no matter how mad I get at my husband; I cannot talk to him the way I had that night. She was right; she’s a true friend. Open rebuke is better “than approval that’s never expressed” (Proverbs 27:5 MSG).
People have blind spots. Every single one of us does things we are unaware we do. To become aware of our poor behavior, we need someone to tell us. Marriage quickly identifies blind spots in a person’s life. For instance, I tend to over-schedule myself and have a hard time relaxing. My husband helps me learn to relax because he made me aware of my issue. In love, he points out the areas I need to refine. Because of his insight, I’m a better person. Feedback is critical to growth.
Consider the Source.
Not all feedback is positive. When someone is “rebuking” you for something in your life, consider the source. Many things motivate someone to offer an opinion. Hatred, jealousy, and meanness can guide someone’s words; don’t listen to them. Instead, look for the love behind the words.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV)
When someone rebukes you with love, you know it. Their kind eyes, gentle touch, selfless speech tell love’s story. Correcting someone you deeply care for isn’t easy. Helping the person understand you’re only telling them to help them is a challenge. But love never fails; when the hearts motive is right, you’ll know.
After my nephew died, I was struggling. However, I was unaware of how I was affecting the people around me. My husband gave me an open rebuke. He recognized how deeply I was hurting; he knew I needed time to heal. What I couldn’t see in myself, he saw in me. We need people who will tell us what we don’t know.
In love, speak the truth.
Question of the Day:
Who can you trust to tell you the truth?