If I don’t love you enough to endure the discomfort of venturing into difficult conversations I’m not sure I love you at all. Proverbs is so full of timeless wisdom that never goes out of style! It’s stood the test of time and is reliable for us to apply to our lives. Nobody enjoys rebuke but we all know it’s necessary at times. I cannot even imagine where I’d be if I hadn’t been rebuked and corrected throughout my life.
This verse points out that the one who uses their time and energy to correct me is better than the person who loves me but doesn’t show it. Hidden love makes me think of a teenage crush I had, the kind that never amounts to anything. I also think of the parent who is too afraid to speak truth into the life of their own child. Lots of adult children in our world today because some don’t see rebuke, correction and guidance as love.
As a foster parent I’ve experienced many kinds of interesting behaviors in my home. One that comes to mind is most of my fosters hadn’t experienced eating meals regularly at a dining room table. Some ate only with their hands and needed instructions on how to hold a fork and knife, how to cut up their food, how to use a napkin and not wipe dirty hands all over their shirt. One boy I bought a new white dress shirt for used it as his napkin when we ate spaghetti. I knew he’d lived in a car for a long time before he came to my home. As a family, we corrected this behavior because our rebuke was done in love. He learned to use his napkin and now has greater respect for his clothing. It’s part of growing up. He was teachable.
This verse in Proverbs points out that the one who rebukes us loves us more than the one who doesn’t. If I don’t love you enough to endure the discomfort of venturing into difficult conversations I don’t love you very much at all. Tough conversations are necessary to maintain good relationships whether that’s in my workplace, my family or friendships.
Please note this verse isn’t talking about unloving rebuke. A rebuke that doesn’t stem from love shouldn’t even be uttered. It will do more harm than good. Those who know me know I can be very direct in my communication and sometimes that’s my greatest downfall. I need to take more care in my words. I’ve heard it said that it takes 10 encouragements to offset 1 discouragement? Why do we seem to dismiss encouragement? Why do we magnify things that feel discouraging to us like rebuke and correction? If I have someone in my life who’s willing to step out and speak hard things to me I’m grateful. They’re a gem. What if we all invited this into our lives instead of fighting one another all the time?
How do we tell the difference between a loving rebuke and a harmful one? I think we know when someone has our best interest in mind. We know if someone truly loves and cares for us. When loving rebuke comes we stand at a pivotal moment. We can heed the rebuke and make changes like my foster son did or we can let our emotions get the best of us and we can display some harmful behaviors. It’s normal for emotions to flare up when we are rebuked. It’s what we do with them that really matters. Acting out of emotion can create a great ness! When we feel emotions rise it’s best to step away, evaluate and then move forward in our decisions and behaviors. This takes self-discipline! It’s not easy.
We’re all in this together. Every day we can choose to make the world a better place or a more sinful place. Life is hard and I’m thankful it’s short. I’m ready for the other side when I pass from here in God’s timing.
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