Better is open rebuke than love that is concealed. (Proverbs 27:5)
Love that is concealed is love that is hidden. And why would we ever hide love?
This is where we twist the reality of what God’s love is and what it entails. God is not a doting grandfather who turns aside when he knows we’re doing something wrong. He doesn’t avoid our wrongdoings because he’s uncomfortable dealing with them. He not only pays attention and deals with them; He knows the details we don’t know, like when, how, and why, and He deals with us perfectly.
This verse in Proverbs compares concealment of love to open rebuke. Open rebuke is dealing with an offense publicly before going to a person privately. It’s as disrespectful as gossip because we’re dishonoring someone. We’re confronting something that could be dealt with privately and reconciled without getting others involved, inviting additional retaliation, judgment, and slander. As inappropriate as open rebuke is, concealing love is worse.
Why? Perhaps because publicly loving others might just curb many offenses that would require any kind of rebuke. If we model and encourage godly behavior, we might not have to deal with as much ungodly behavior. It’s positive reinforcement at its core.
God loved the world so much that He gave His Son to come to the world and live a messy life as a human in a messy world riddled with hate, sin, and persecution. Not only did God send Jesus here, but He sent Him to, among other things, die a horrific death. You know many of the details. And every single one of those details ties into God’s action of loving us so much to do so.
Sharing God’s love isn’t always pretty. It’s not a presentation of beautiful flowers. But it is something we do that is active. It’s something we give. God’s love should never be hidden, downplayed, or obscured.
So, how can we show love in tangible, relevant ways? It’s not as complicated as we make it. We simply have to reflect God’s will. We can make it complicated by taking our eyes off God and looking around us, trying to figure out where the needs are and how we can meet them. But when we keep our focus on God, we see details of and provision for need that would never have occurred to us. We ignore some needs because God doesn’t tell us to meet those needs. We retreat instead of serving because God wants to prepare us. We give more than we can ever imagine giving because we trust His provision. When our eyes are locked onto His will, we see things around us that we can never see by looking around us. It’s counter-intuitive, but it’s God’s way.
A love that shows isn’t a love on display for the sake of display. It’s not always as public as you think it might be. A love that shows is a love that is shown by and through God. He has a way of taking seemingly small things and highlighting them in people’s lives. He has a way of putting together a variety of people and acts of love to multiply in someone’s life. He has a way of loving us with abundance, and it is in that overflowing abundance that we love others within His will. We stop the flow when we take our eyes off Him. When God and His Word is alive and active in us, our eyes are locked onto the very source of love: God Himself.
Dear God, I want to abide in You. Help me to take my eyes off the world around me, even when I am looking at people to serve and love on Your behalf. Turn my face and focus back to You. I will trust You to provide all the guidance and provision I need to honor You with the love You give me.