Rebuke me, please.


Love in action !Proverbs 27:5
Better is open rebuke than hidden love.
This passage seems a little strange. No one likes to be rebuked but everyone wants to be loved. So how is rebuke better than love?

Hidden love is worthless. Love is a verb. It requires action. If I love you but never act lovingly toward you, my “love” amounts to nothing. So this passage is saying: If you love someone, do something, act like it, tell them.

What an important truth for parents and children, husbands and wives and even friends. The old, “They know I love them so I don’t have to tell them” is a deception. Tell them, express your love, lavish it on. Do not let your love remain hidden.

So how is open rebuke good? Proverbs repeatedly says a wise man accepts a rebuke, learns from it and grows wiser but a fool resents anyone who tries to correct him or keep him in line. A rebuke is actually an expression of love.

Think of the parent who looks away, ignores a child’s misbehavior rather than confront it and deal with all that goes along with correcting bad behavior. The parent who looks away is thinking more of themselves than the well being of the child. The parent who confronts the behavior is more concerned with the child’s best interest than their own.

Open rebuke is hard to receive but it is also usually hard to give. We want to be liked. We want to be accepted. Often when we give a rebuke we will face rejection, disdain. It takes love to look past our own insecurities, care more for the best interest of the other person and rebuke one in need of it.

This thought is continued in the next verse:
Proverbs 27:6
Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.

Both are saying the same thing. An open rebuke may wound us but if we will embrace the wound and learn from it it will be of great value whereas hidden love does us no good and in reality is worthless.
Proverbs 3:11, 12
My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.

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2 thoughts on “Rebuke me, please.

  1. I see many scriptural references to children heeding the parents; what about when all the scriptural references are reversed and the child believes he/she has been put in a position such that they are rebuking their parent? I see that 1 Tim. 5:1 suggests not be harsh with an elder and in context we know this was a charge to Timothy in his young age to exercise respect in his ministry. I suppose the same might apply to one’s parent(s)? I just feel so sad that I’ve recently had to “give my parents an earful” about issues that have persisted for many years – issues that I’ve pleaded with them to address multiple times over a number of years. I find myself being angry and trying desperately to 1.) honor them – but it doesn’t feel like I am when in the act of rebuking or chastising 2.) be angry and not sin in the process and 3.) hope and pray I’m not suggesting to them I’m perfect but that the issues I am raising are valid and a really sore subject.

    • Some excellent comments James. Parenting is tough and even when the relationship is a healthy one a very difficult aspect is learning when to release the reins. As our children grow it is too easy to still see them as little children that we need to protect. In an unhealthy relationship there can be many other reasons for not backing off. What I see in Scripture is that as our children grow there is a transition (not a single point in time such as when they turn 18 or move out of the house, etc) from a chain of command (where they are expected to obey us) to a chain of counsel (where we share our insight and wisdom but leave it is up to them to hear from God and choose their own path based upon His direction). That transition is essential.

      If this transition has not fully taken place before marriage, then it certainly needs to occur with the man at marriage – leave his father and mother and cleave to his spouse. Some believe that the common “teen-age rebellion” is God planted to enable this break. I have a hard time with that concept because “rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft” but I can appreciate the sentiment – God wants us at some point in time to assume the responsibility of adulthood.

      I have no idea of your age or your relationship to your parents but there does come a time when you need to let you parents know you value their guidance but must hear from the Lord yourself and follow His guidance even it contradicts theirs. Some guiding principles of how this is to be done are found in Scripture. You mentioned one excellent one – not with harshness. Some others would be “speaking the truth in love”, “Let your yes be yes”, “do unto others” and, of course’ “love is patient, love is kind, …..” This is to say, you can honor your parents but may not be able to obey them. This can be particularly difficult as parents age and you almost assume the role of parent in their life, telling them what they need to do or not do.

      There is an excellent series of books, “Boundaries” by Cloud and Townsend that I think will help with the situaton you are facing. Plus one by them on how to have those difficult conversations. Here is a link to “Conversation” one:

      I hope that helps. Just remember, you can be respectful and give them honor yet not obey. But also, don’t totally ignore what they have to say as, in all likelihood, they really do care about you and want the best for you. Finally, keep a long term perspective. They will still be your parents 10 years, 20 years from now and you want to, as much as possible, keep that relationship intact. As much as it lies within you, live at peace with all men.

      Thanks again for the comment.

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