ESV - 5 Better is open rebuke than hidden love.
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► An open rebuke demonstrates more love to a friend than a secret love which withholds rebuke when it should be given. (Pro. 27:5) Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. (Pro. 27:6) Verbal rebuke or physical wounds from a friend are cutting and sharp, but they will do more good than the kisses of a treacherous, deceptive, crafty enemy. ► Five examples of such faithfulness: 1. Nehemiah (Neh. 5:7-13) 2. Jehu (2Chr. 19:2-11) 3. Jesus Christ (Mt. 23) 4. Stephen (Acts 7) 5. Paul (Acts 22:1--Acts 24:27)
In my opinion, Solomon is saying that hidden love (speaking of either romantic or godly love), or love that does not express itself, is of no benefit, either to the one who loves, or to the object of that love. If you express love for someone in either words or actions, and the person rebukes or rejects you, then you know where you stand with the person, and it can serve as a starting point for possible reconciliation or further active demonstration of that love on your part. At the very least, revealing your love, but being rebuked or rejected for it, leaves you with the knowledge that the other person knows your position, and that you have done everything that you could to convey it. You can then be free to "move on", as necessary, rather than continuing to devote time and effort that could be more productively spent in some other way.
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