I don’t remember the words “I love you” being used much around my house when I was growing up.  It was just the way things were at that time. My old man was a tough old bird who worked hard and long hours and preached toughness to his sons. Yet, I always felt there was love in my home. When my mother said, “wait till your father gets home,” we knew we would be in for it. Mom loved us her way. Dad loved us in his way. But his love would never let us get away with anything.

Proverbs 27:5-6 says this, “An open rebuke is better than hidden love! Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” An open rebuke is to be preferred over a love that is too fragile to say what needs to be said.  Silence at times is not love at all. Or even worse, if we need a rebuke, to get comfort and consolation is the worst thing for us.

One of the heaviest tragedies of life is that you and I can live a life of trivial pursuits and no one will care. We can live this way and the world will wrap their arms around us, kiss us profusely, and encourage us on our ways. My Dad wouldn’t let me do that! He was always challenging me and confronting me with my choices and decisions. He would not bless poor choices. When I left my wife in 1978 (before I became a Christian), he took a bus from Omaha to Detroit to personally confront me. I had no idea he would be dead in less than six months. For a solid week he never let up on the terrible mistake I was making. It took a couple months and the work of God in my life, but his words finally sank in and I was saved from making the worst decision of my life. Believe me, “an open rebuke is better than hidden love.”

“Listen to your father who gave you life…” Proverbs 23:22