Tell them the truth

I received a ‘verse for the day’ notification on Tuesday and the verse was Proverbs 27:5-6 which says,

Better is open rebuke
than hidden love.
Well meant are the wounds a friend inflicts,
but profuse are the kisses of an enemy.

I began to meditate on those verses and the scripture 2 Timothy 3:16 comes to mind which says,

 All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

You might be wondering what does this have to do with Proverbs.

If you’re going to rebuke (correct) a friend, it needs to be rooted in the word of God.

It tells us that all scripture is inspired by God and profitable, useful for teaching us, for reproof, correction and training in righteousness. If I’m going to correct my fellow brother or sister in Christ, it can’t be done based on my feelings, my emotions or what other people have been saying behind that person’s back. It has to be rooted in scripture and what the word of God says. What does God say about the situation?

Hebrews 4:12, likens the word of God to a two-edged sword –

Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

The word of God is powerful to pierce our hearts, convict people of their sin and sharp enough to cut through all things. The only thing that should be sharp is the Word, not our tongue.

When correcting a friend, not only should it be rooted in the word but also coming from a place of love. It shouldn’t be done out of pride or wanting to get your message across. Nor should correction be delivered to make yourself feel better or to humiliate that person in the presence of others.

In 1 Corinthians 13:1, Paul shares what is the greatest which is love:

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels,
but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

It doesn’t matter if you speak eloquently or know the bible back to front or able to communicate with anyone and everyone. If I’m preaching the Good News and I don’t have love or happen to speak every language on earth but still don’t have love, able to prophesy but don’t have love – it does not mean anything!

If we continue into 1 Corinthians 4-7, it says:

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 

Already it tells us that love also goes hand-in-hand with the truth. Love doesn’t rejoice in wrongdoing. If I truly love that person, I would tell them the truth.

Jesus loved the people but He told them the truth about the Kingdom of God. He was aware of their actions but still was merciful and gracious without compromising His standard.

There’s a balance.

Speaking the truth shouldn’t eliminate love nor should love require us to dilute the truth. They are both important.

Going back to Proverbs 27:5-6…in verse 6 it tells us:

Well meant are the wounds a friend inflicts,
but profuse are the kisses of an enemy.

A correction may hurt the person not because it’s done harshly but it may bruise their feelings, their ego and who they are as a person. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt because I know some have never been told the truth and for them, they’re hearing this for the first time. So it will hurt but like all wounds, they heal…especially if it’s well meant.

The same is applicable to God. He disciplines us as any parent would because He loves us.

And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as children—

“My child, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
or lose heart when you are punished by him;
for the Lord disciplines those whom he loves,
and chastises every child whom he accepts.”

In 2017, I began to pray “Less of me. More of You” and when I tell how God kept exposing my heart and brought things to light – it broke me. At first, I was upset because I thought God was just pointing out my flaws for fun and was breaking me down. When in reality He wasn’t breaking me but humbling me. I was stripped of my pride and had to learn humility. He was sharpening, convicting me so that I could grow in His word and walk in godliness. All needed so that I may become more and more like His Son.

You might be wondering what does this have to do with correction. I’m sharing this for those who are on the receiving end of correction and encouraging them not to lose heart. Instead of seeing your friend as the enemy, seeing it as judgement – see it as them caring enough to point out these things that aren’t pleasing to God so that error can be corrected.

So at that moment of correction, I would spend time with the Father and bring those issues before God and ask Him to reveal these things to me. But I must be humble, honest and ready to receive what He has to say. Knowing God, He will always guide us to His word for clarity.

The book of Proverbs is known as the book of Wisdom but also teaching. And there are verses throughout that talk about the importance of being teachable, being surrounded by a multitude of counsellors and discipline leading to knowledge.

Well meant are the wounds a friend inflicts,
but profuse are the kisses of an enemy.

The synonym of profuse is plentiful, many, abundant.

So plentiful, many, abundant are the kisses of the enemy. In other translations, it says,

Faithful are the wounds of a friend [who corrects out of love and concern],
But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful [because they serve his hidden agenda].

Proverbs 27:6 (AMP)

In the world we live in, too many people are afraid of speaking the truth. To speak on what’s right and what’s wrong. That are willing to ignore what shouldn’t be ignored.

A kiss is a way to display affection. Affection can be a form of comfort. So if all I’m doing in my friendship is comforting but unable to tell the truth. I’m covering it up and pretending that what they’re doing is right when I know it’s wrong…then I’m not helping them.

If I am walking down a road and you see a ditch (for the sake of this illustration, I am blind). I would trust that you would speak up and warn me. Once knowing the truth, then it’s now left to me to decide whether to turn back or keep walking.

But if you see me walking and there’s a ditch. You didn’t say anything, all you’ve done is cheer me on and I fall into a ditch…The wound that would have been inflicted if you corrected me is nothing compared to the wounds that would ensue from my actions and the consequences that I will have to experience.

To build up the body of Christ is through the word of God but sometimes, it’s not always encouraging words. Other times its correction from a loving friend, brother/sister in Christ, mother, father, mentor, leader…who see what I’m doing and aren’t afraid to tell me where I’m heading.

Proverbs 14:12 clearly says,

There is a way which seems right to a man,
but its end is the way to death.

There’s a way that may seem right but is actually wrong. This is not to place correction as our sole responsibility. God will correct that person but sometimes, we have to (as led by the Holy Spirit).

There will be times that we can’t see what’s in us. It can be the little things we do repetitively without reflection because it’s become normal for us. But through fellowship with other believers, they can see things for what it is.

So if you have a friend in mind, this is the way to go about it:

  1. PRAY – pray to God if it’s something He wants you to address or not. It could be that He wants you to pray for him or her, that they would come into the knowledge of the truth, their eyes would be open and their hearts softened. It may not be your place to say.   If God says to address it, then progress to no.2
  2. ASK – ask God for wisdom. What should I say? How should I go about it (should it be addressed one-on-one or will I need 2 other people)? Where should it happen? When should it happen? Timing is important.
  3. TELL – tell them the truth. It sounds obvious but it can hard. As long as it’s rooted in the Word of God and coming from a place of love. Then that’s all that matters

I love my friends enough to tell them the truth. Why? Because I’m concerned about them and genuinely care about them. And vice versa. They tell me the truth because they’re concerned about me as well.

And like that ditch analogy, if you tell them and they still decide to keep walking. Don’t give up. Continue to pray for them and have faith that God will reveal those things to them in due time.

God bless,







4 thoughts on “Tell them the truth

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