“Better is open rebuke than love that is concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.” — Proverbs 27:5-6
These Proverbs speak of the need for truth-telling that’s sometimes painful in a genuine friendship. An open rebuke is better than concealed love. Concealed love refuses to show itself by saying something that’s needed but possibly hurtful, and that really isn’t love at all. It’s soft love; it’s love that isn’t tough enough to say something to a person when their behavior is destroying themselves and others. But a friend who will tell you the truth, even when it wounds, is precious. Their willingness to wound you is born out of faithfulness. It doesn’t always feel that way. Nobody likes to be wounded. This is an aspect of friendship that we have to be willing to both give and receive.
If you have a friend in your life who tells you something about yourself that’s hard to hear, thank God for that person and take what they say seriously. We say we want to grow in our faith. Well, this is often how God grows us. He puts a friend in our path who loves us enough to reflect back to us how some of the choices we’re making are unwise. Sure, sometimes we have to consider the source, but more often we should consider the criticism, and if we hear it from more than one person, consider it even more. An old Yiddish proverb says, “If one man calls you an ass, pay him no mind. But if two men call you an ass, put on a saddle.”
– Andy Pettitte
(PHOTO COURTESY: Keith Allison)