“Open rebuke is better than secret love.”—Proverbs 27:5
One literary device used in Proverbs is to compare ideas to reveal wisdom. Open rebuke and secret love are not opposites per say. But they are different enough to compare. As we compare these two ideas or scenarios, we will understand the central message of the verse.
People that keep it real are hard to come by. The older I get, the more I appreciate open and honest people. Blunt people can come off as rude and condescending. We would think that love is always better. What about secret love, though? Personally, I’d rather a blunt rude friend who there for me than a friend who supposedly loves me but doesn’t back me up in public.
This explains the difficulty of romantic affairs. Let’s draw an illustration. Kenny and Keisha are married. They love each other but are having problems. Kenny starts to have a secret affair with Miracle, a mutual friend. Kenny stills loves his wife but isn’t sure where the marriage is going. So, the affair remains a closely held secret. One day, a mutual friend to all three throws a birthday party and everybody in their circle is invited. What will happen? Kenny and Keisha will be arm in arm—the happy couple! Miracle will try to stay occupied by mingling. Kenny and Miracle will have to avoid each other—more than usual—as to not do anything to raise suspicions.
With that imagine in mind, we must decide what’s better. Open rebuke? Secret love? Open rebuke is better. While Kenny and Miracle’s feeling for one another may be genuine, Miracle will suffer. As Miracle begins to fall for Kenny, she will be hurt. She can’t go out on a date with him. What if another friend sees them? Yes, they’re friends and could say they’re just hanging out. But as the relationship progresses, it will be difficult to hide the mutual affection. Secret love always causes pain. Open rebuke may sting at first, but at least you know where you stand with the other person. Keep it real.