At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16: 11)
Open rebuke is better than secret love.Proverbs 27:5
The problem with secret love is that, well, it is not very loving. When someone is in trouble or difficulty, that is the time when they need to know that they have friends. And if their trouble is with other people, as it frequently is, then the world needs to know that they have friends.
If a friend has done something worthy of rebuke, then the honest and forthright thing to do is take it to him directly. This is in distinction from a dishonest rebuke—whether others have commenced an attack, and you join the dog pile. That is not the open rebuke this proverb has in mind. That is not what we are looking for. If your friend has done wrong, then he should have every confidence that he will hear from you directly. He shouldn’t have to guess at your feelings.
But those who love secretly are the people you are never sure about. The apostle Paul was betrayed a number of times by people in his entourage, whether it was as serious as Demas leaving him for the world (2 Tim. 4:10), or a number of unnamed people flaking on him (2 Tim. 1:15). But if we know anything about human nature, it was no doubt the case that a few of these people who put distance between themselves and Paul had a secret affection for him. And furthermore, they no doubt would be willing to express that affection, once it was safe to do so again.
When someone is willing to rebuke you openly, even if you don’t like it, or differ with it honestly, you still know where you are with that person. When someone loves you in secret, there is nothing you can count on.