Proverbs 27:5-6 say: Open reproof is better than concealed love. Wounds by a loved one are long lasting; The kisses of an enemy are profuse. (JPS) If you think this verse is about hurtful comments from your loved ones, you have missed the point. This verse is about the words of loved ones that we might not want to hear, but we need to hear. The JPS Study Bible comments: "Friendship often takes the form of forthright reproof of faults. 'Long lasting' or 'trustworthy.' The wounds are verbal as in verse 5, and they are intended to be beneficial. In contrast, an enemy feigns friendship, but this, of course, means nothing." True friendship sometimes requires saying something that may create tension. However, if we approach the words of a friend giving them the benefit of the doubt, we will be better in the long run.
I have had occasions over the years to have offered advice or reproof to a person for his own good. Several times the response has been very poor. I regretted giving my opinion. My motives were questioned and attacked. The actions brought me to a place that I made the decision that I would no longer offer advice to that individual. That was a sad day. It was a day that the loved one lost the benefit of my past experiences, mistakes, and current wisdom. As I say, "It is better to learn from someones mistakes other than your own." However, after considering these verses, I saw that my approach was in error. I should continue to offer loving reproof and suggestions regardless of the anticipated response. When people react negatively to the words of a loved one, they are forgetting the meaning of today's verses. Wounds from a loved one are trustworthy; they can be trusted.
Today, if a loved one offers reproof, remember these verses. The words, though they may wound, are designed to help you. Regardless if you are the one wounding, or the one being wounded, consider the past relationship with the person. It is the enemy who cares little for you that will remain silent.
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