Open Rebuke & Faithful Friends
Proverbs 27:5-6 (KJV) Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
In typical Hebrew fashion we see these two verses reinforcing the thought of honest, transparent relationships. The concept of honest evaluation and correction, as well as overt and covert rejection, is expressed in both verses.
There is also the idea that correction and even hurtful words are better received from someone you know loves you than deceitful lies from someone who hates you. Let’s face it, if someone really cares about you they will try to keep you from deception and harm. If you think your child is headed for danger you tell them in order to protect them.
Yesterday, while my wife, Sharon, and I were lining up to board our plane to Las Vegas from Oakland, a young man, over hearing me say that Las Vegas was our home, asked what we were doing in Oakland. I told him that we were ministering at a church there and had just Ordained a minister. He expressed pleasure that we were there for the cause of Christ and so I asked him if he was a Christian. He said, Yes, and so I asked him what kind. He told me he was a Latter Day Saint. There was absolutely no doubt that he firmly believed that he was a Christian.
I have a great deal of respect for the LDS people and told him so. Their young men dedicate two years of their lives to spread their concept of the gospel. That is admirable. It is a sacrifice for the young men and their families.
I told him that I understood that we shared a great many things like the value of family, good morals, etc.. I also said, “I know that you care as much for my soul as I do yours,” and went on to point out the need that he believe in the true Jesus, Son of the Living God in order to be saved. He assured me that he did and we entered into a discussion about some of the problems I could see between biblical Christianity and Mormonism.
It was an open and lively discussion and we had to agree to disagree and parted friends. He, I pray, with a few biblical concepts that will lead him to salvation. He assured me that he reads the Bible. He is a fine young man and my desire is that he come to know the Jesus and the God that I know.
Just because we don’t agree with someone doesn’t make them our enemy. In fact, if we truly care about them we will question, dialogue, reprove, rebuke and challenge them not pretend to agree with them. Withheld love is cruel and heartless. True friendship demands honest, transparent dialogue.
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