Proverbs 27:5-6

5 Better is open rebuke

   than hidden love.

6 Wounds from a friend can be trusted,

   but an enemy multiplies kisses.

 

 There are times when rebuke is what a person needs. What if it is withheld? This happens often to those with influence, those around them are afraid to oppose them. Whatever motivates such men, whether cowardice or self interest, they are certainly not acting in the best interest of the one who needs honest feedback. If you are in a position of authority, make sure you have advisers who are not afraid to challenge you. It is better to surround yourself with critics than with sycophants.

 What use is there in hidden love? Actions are the consummation of feelings. If your love for someone inspires you, take action. We hide because we fear vulnerability, but real love causes us to think more of another’s needs and less of our own. Love which remains hidden is really no love at all, as it protects the self and neglects the other. Openness is essential in relationships – the open rebuke, though harsh, is more loving than hidden affection.

 “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” The obligations each of us has to others, whether we love them or not, fall under the virtue of justice. Honesty is one aspect of justice, to be truthful to others just as we would have them be truthful to us. The true friend is honest, he gives others what they need even if it hurts. The false friend is the one who flatters when rebuke is called for, through deception he becomes your enemy.

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