Be Thankful for a Friend's Correction
No one likes conflict. In fact, most people dislike it so much they try and avoid it at all cost. We especially do not like it when others confront us regarding our flaws or some perceived sin we have committed against them or someone else. Yet the Bible is clear that “better is open rebuke than hidden love” (Prov. 27:5). But what does that mean? It is better for someone to come to you and rebuke you, correct you, for some character flaw they have noticed in you or for something they believe you have said or done that is wrong, inappropriate or sinful, rather than to say nothing in the misguided belief that that is what love does. Too often people falsely believe that if you love someone, then you certainly should not want to upset them. You should not want to damage their self-esteem or self-confidence. And you most certainly should not want to do or say anything that might damage the relationship. Thus, far too often when we notice a sinful character flaw in a friend or loved one or when they have said to done something to offend us, our kneejerk response is to say nothing, to do nothing. We wrongly believe it is better to simply love them as they are and overlook their transgressions. After all, does not the Bible tell us that “love covers a multitude of sins”? (1 Pet. 4:8). Yet in other places we are told that “if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone” (Matt. 18:15), and “if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness” (Gal. 6:1 ESV). When Peter tells us that “love covers a multitude of sins” he means that love extends grace and is patient and understanding. He does not mean that we allow those whom we love to continue in sin to their detriment. If we truly love someone, if we truly care about the condition of their soul and about their spiritual health and growth, then we will gently and lovingly go to them and correct them when we see them engaging in sinful behavior or when we see that they have sinned against us or someone else. “Better is open rebuke than hidden love.” It is far better to have someone correct our sinful behavior than to remain silent and pretend they love us.
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