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Open rebuke is better than secret love.
– Proverbs 27:5Verses 5-6 address an issue of true friendship—open and direct communication. The word for rebuke means reproof, or correction. Rebuke sounds harsh and hateful to our ears today, but receiving it is crucial to acquiring wisdom (Proverbs 1:20-23). Refusing reproof is to embrace death and destruction (Proverbs 1:24-33). The way we respond to rebuke reveals whether we are foolish or wise (Proverbs 9:8; 23:9).
This saying speaks to the value of a friend who will speak up when it is needed. The word for open means to uncover and here refers to one not hiding a needed reproof. It contrasts with secret, which means to cover, or conceal. This is a “better than” saying where the sting of open rebuke is to be preferred to the hidden correction left unspoken, allowing us to go on in folly. A love that doesn’t manifest itself is worthless (Proverbs 3:12; 13:24; 23:13; 1 John 3:18).
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