Proverbs 27:5,6, Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
This is a "better than" proverb
These two proverbs are related because they both talk about works of true friendship.
They give us indicators of true friendship.
They are thermometers of friendship, testing the temperature of our friendships.
The ideas presented in these proverbs about friendship are not ideas of the modern world because they are about hard things.
Things that cause pain, things that cause hurt, things that cause suffering.
We usually think of rebuke and wounds as negative and not friendly and we think of kisses as positive and friendly.
But God's thoughts are not our thoughts and God's ways are not our way's.
His thoughts consider everything while your thoughts and my thoughts are narrow and personalized to our own circumstances.
Your thoughts tend toward self and what you think good for yourself.
There is an important principle of how God thinks given in Leviticus 19:17 that we should learn before we discuss these proverbs.
It reads: Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.
The principle is: rebuke is evidence of love for your neighbor.
Lack of rebuke is evidence of hate for your neighbor.
And the reason for rebuke is so that your neighbor will not suffer greater consequences of the sin for which they are being rebuked.
Rebuke is warning for the purpose of protecting your friend or neighbor from the consequences of wrong behavior.
So rebuke given to me is love and is the act of a true friend, a friend who cares about my soul.
Kisses instead of rebuke is hate and is the act of an enemy.
Am I not a sinner prone to wander?
Don't I lean toward my own will and way?
Am I perfect without possibility of falling?
Is it possible for my own eyes to see my faults?
If I know that I am but clay, then isn't it logical that I need correction, I need help.
I need a true friend who rebukes.
I don't need a counterfeit friend who kisses and hugs and flatters and covers my faults.
I need open rebuke. Rebuke that opens to me what I am.
The word open as used in this proverb is from a Hebrew word that means to denude, to make nude, naked or bare, to strip.
It means to reveal, to discover, to show, to uncover.
We have talked about the word "hypocrite" in past lessons.
We have found that a hypocrite is one who masks his true identity by covering himself in layers of coverings or masks.
When one covering is removed another takes its place so that the true self is kept concealed.
This first proverb recognizes my disposition to conceal my true self from not only others, but from myself.
My heart is so deceitful that it will convince me of everything in order to make me look good in my own eyes.
This is where open rebuke comes in.
Open rebuke is not the kind of rebuke that reveals the weakness of a person to other people.
It is not rebuke designed to hold a person up to ridicule.
It is not necessarily public rebuke for the benefit of those that may witness the rebuke, although these benefits may occur if that happens.
Open rebuke between friends allows corrective instruction that reveals.
Open rebuke removes smokescreens between people. Open rebuke removes walls between friends that conceal reality.
It is corrective instruction for the person rebuked.
It is effective instruction because it makes sin naked and recognizable for what it is. It is cutting to the quick!
It is given from friend to friend (and by the way from parent to child, also) so things can be seen as they really are, not clothed in deceits of the heart that paint a picture that is different from reality.
I need rebuke and the wounds of rebuke because I recognize myself as a sinner in need of correction!
If you shun and hate rebuke perhaps you do not really see yourself as a sinner.
I need true friends who care enough about me to want me to go the right way.
Friends who do not want me to suffer the consequences of sin.
Friends who do not want me to go down a road away from God!
Friends who dare to risk a faithful wound.
Friends who dare to inflict pain and suffering upon me for a season so that in the long run I am more faithful to God.
I want a pastor who loves his flock and shows that love by the necessary rebukes.
I don't need secret love. Love that hides, love that conceals.
Love that overlooks my sin for its own comfort and wellbeing.
Love that won't rock the boat of my life to warn me that I'm in danger.
Love that keeps quiet lest it is disturbed.
Love that hides itself and is never tested.
I don't need secret love, I need open rebuke which reveals true love.
Get rid of your secret love. I want love that shows.
I want love that helps God produce in me a work of God.
And I need faithfulness in this effort.
I need continual wounds from a true friend who loves me enough to rebuke me with no holds barred and all guards down.
I need open wounds that are probed to discover my corruption and apply the balm that is needed for healing.
And all those who desire godliness will want their faults to be revealed that they may be all God wants them to be.
Those who in sincerity of the heart, perform this difficult act of love are rare and faithful friends and are to be valued above the greatest treasure.
Someone wise long ago said this: "He that would be safe must have a faithful friend, or a bitter enemy, that he may fly from vice or sin by the admonitions of the one, or the invective of the other."
I need the heat of rebuke from a friend and if I don't get the heat of rebuke from a friend then give me the cold of rebuke from an enemy.
One way or another I need rebuke.
I don't need the lukewarm ness of secret love! That simply caters to my flesh!
These proverbs remind us of our obligation to welcome and treasure the faithful wounds of a friend's open rebuke and to shun the deceitful kisses of the enemy.
It also reminds us to be the kind of friend that will love so much as to risk that friendship by open rebuke and faithful wounds.