Proverbs 27:5 says: “Better is open rebuke than hidden love.” (ESV)
One of the Puritans, Richard Baxter, wrote about the pride of mankind that hinders spiritual growth:
“We are so tender, that a man can scarcely touch us but we are hurt; and so high-minded, that a man who is not versed in complimenting, and skilled in flattery above the vulgar rate, can scarcely tell how to handle us so observantly, and fit our expectations at every turn, without there being some word, or some neglect, which our high spirits will fasten on, and take as injurious to our honour.” – p. 141-142 of The Reformed Pastor
What he means here is that so many of us Christians are too sensitive to words that do not AGREE with us (like constructive criticism, etc.) and seem to hurt our pride, honor, and self-worth.
“Lord, empty me of me and fill me with You” – we pray that but do we mean it even when the truth hurts?
In the book of Proverbs alone, God calls us to be open to the rebuke of others for our own good and humility (Prov. 13:1 & 17:10 & 24:25 & 28:23 & 30:6).
Have we lost the art of a truthful yet loving rebuke in our culture because of our pride?
Thankfully, biblical counseling gives us an opportunity to be instruments who lovingly, privately rebuke Christians for God’s glory. We get the privilege of speaking the truth in love to others out of our great concern for them as we are led by the Holy Spirit. They desperately need the truth of God’s Word when they are believing the lies of Satan, this world, and themselves (yes, we deceive ourselves)! They desperately need the love of Christ, too!
-Mark (praying our Christian culture will recapture this simple biblical truth so that the body of Christ will grow)