5 Better is open rebuke
than hidden love.
than hidden love.
but an enemy multiplies kisses.
Let's say that I was watching you, and you were walking down a sidewalk. You were headed straight toward a huge hole in the walkway: possibly three feet deep. You would certainly be harmed if you didn't look up from your Kindle and see the danger and stop!
Would I be a friend if I kept my mouth shut? Nope. Is it possible that you would be irked with me for disturbing your reading. Yep. Which way would be better --- to warn you, or not to warn you?
This is a pretty rudimentary example, is it not? It's extremely obvious what our answers should be. But in real situations, it is sometimes difficult for people to live out this concept. If I am headed into sin, or into a situation that could be disastrous for my faith and my testimony, I would much prefer to have a friend tell me to my face . . . that's much better than if the friend keeps quiet, out of some loyalty, or affection. The best way for that affection to be shown is for my friend to speak to me, and warn me. That is a proof of their having my best interest at heart, isn't it?
If we are rebuked by a friend, we must first try not to be resentful -- to use that wisdom that Solomon has been teaching us, and graciously accept the fact that we were headed toward danger. If a friend needs to be rebuked, we must summon up all of the tactfulness that we can muster, and kindly (but firmly) let our friend know of their dangerous situation. We cannot withhold the truth from them. Even if it hurts for a time.
Our second verse speaks of false affection: how many of us have been hurt because by a false show of affection? We mentioned two instances of deadly kisses recently . . . Joab in II Samuel, and Judas, in the gospels. Being careful of our choices in friends to fellowship with, may help us avoid this kind of hurtful person.
Even if we bruise their toes, let's be true to our friends, and our brothers and sisters in Christ. Let's remember Romans 12:9, "Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good." That's putting love into action: better to bruise their toes, than to watch them fall into the hole . . .