"Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy." ESV
Consider this word from both directions.
As the subject: do you hide your love? The second greatest command is to love your neighbor. Does your neighbor-love have any effect? Does it show? A true friend, one who loves his/her neighbor, acts upon that love. Active love is willing to do and say what is pleasant and easy, and also to serve in harder ways as well. True love is even willing to offer rebuke, to reprove, to wound. I know I have failed to wound friends - and have paid the price of watching them self-destruct. Is their blood on my hands?
As the object: when I am "wounded" by a friend, what is my reaction? I want to assume the best: that it was done in love. I should always give my friends the benefit of the doubt, particularly when I am hurt. When I receive a rebuke, I want to be thankful that love is not hidden - instead it is working, and even offering me instruction. When I am wounded by reproof or correction, I want to assume it is a faithful wound. The wound of a friend trying to help me.
That sure is easier said than done. When hurt comes, or we have awkward things to say to someone, let's be sure to pause, reflect, and assume the best, before we react.
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