Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. Proverbs 27:5,6
In the books of Kings and Chronicles, it is written that King Solomon collected all the proverbs of his people. These wise sayings are included in the Bible in the book of Proverbs. They deal with problems raging from spiritual matters to business and personal issues.
The book also includes many proverbs about friendships: what is a true friend, what are dangerous companions, how to keep friendships, how to be a good friend and other circumstances that affect friendships and love — circumstances such as secrecy, foolishness, pride, speech, anger, lust and other human issues. In these two verses, the problem of correction is discussed. How are humans to react to help from friends?
The first of the verses posits a situation where a friend is given a choice of showing his love for his friend by keeping silent and not showing his friend his flaw or by challenging his friend’s error. In the verse following it, the proverb declares that hurtful words from a true friend are better than flattery and seeming love from an enemy. The Proverbs also acknowledge that some friends are easily hurt by rebukes and will not listen to correction.
He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth. Proverbs 10:17
Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid. Proverbs 12:1
Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured. Proverbs 13:18
Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die. Proverbs 15:10
He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding. Proverbs 15:32
The ability to have a listening and a humble heart is considered the sign of a truly mature person. Maturity, then, implies a realization that there is much to learn and a willingness to change for the better.