Better is open rebuke
than hidden love.
The Proverbs often offer us sweet and simple nuggets of wisdom. That wisdom often challenges us greatly regarding our relationships with others, be they friends or enemies. One such a wisdom nugget is found in the above verse which communicates two things to consider.
Open rebuke is better than hidden love. Open rebuke is actually a very good thing for the life of any wise person. When you or I do wrong, we need people who will, with grace and charity, come to us and let us know. This is far better than someone seeing us ruin our lives and refuse to tell us what they see.
How often have you heard one person complaining about the failings and shortcomings of another? How often has the complainer actually first gone and told the one against whom they are complaining? So often our rebukes are hidden, or worse, they are told as morsels of gossip intended to wound. O how much better we would be as believers if we would talk to one another about our concerns instead of spreading them abroad.
The second half of this proverb, the opposite of good rebuke, is a strange thing to consider an opposite. While open rebuke can be a very good thing, hidden love is not. Think about your own experience in your local church. Do you love your pastor? Do you love your Sunday School teacher? What about other sweet and godly believers in Christ? If so, do they know? It is great that you love your fellow Christians, but if they cannot see that you love them, you need to do what you can to rectify that.
I’m not telling you to go all sappy here and get weepy over everybody. But letting people know that you care for them, that you appreciate them, or that you are praying for them is a very good thing to do. Why not take a moment to examine your life and see where your love of brothers and sisters in Christ might seem hidden.
I can think, in my own life, of times where I have been reminded that I need to show my concern for brothers and sisters in Christ more clearly. That led me to do more pastoral visits, to make more phone calls, and to make it a point, each Sunday, to stop by the senior adult Sunday School classes just to let them know that I’m thinking of them. These are small things, but they can go a long way in helping believers to understand that you actually do care. What can you do that would do the same?