“Better is open rebuke than hidden love.” (Proverbs 27:5, ESV)
It is natural to withdraw when hurt. I know I do sometimes. Rather than just addressing the other person openly and honestly, we can silently punish them by hiding our love. Its sin.
Yet how many of us imagine God does this very thing? We think that seasons when we are not sensitive to some sense of His love, that He in fact has withdrawn it. We all know that pain. We know the confusion and helplessness of it. But is a human invention, not a divine one.
Look at Israel’s history. God sent prophet after prophet to rebuke them openly about their sin. After long periods of unrepentance, He at times chastened them very severely. But we never read of His love waning. His chastening was always the rod of love itself – seeking to drive them away form their estrangement and back to Him. They plugged their ears – as we plug ours. But His Word never fails to faithfully both rebuke our sin, and sing of His glorious love.
Oh may we learn to love as He has loved us. Better to hear the rebukes, or to give them. Better to talk it all out – than to hide our love from one another, and be the silent judge, jury and executioner for other’s wounds against us. Let us love bravely and straightforwardly as He did. Not like cowardly infants who only seek a less overt way to hit back.