MONDAY, 27 April 2020

PROVERBS 27: 5

5 Better is open rebuke than hidden love. (NIV)
5 Open rebuke is better Than love carefully concealed. (NKJV)

Brothers, sisters, would you say you are hesitant to r͟e͟b͟u͟k͟e͟ others, especially those in God’s family? But would you agree that there is a time and place where r͟e͟b͟u͟k͟e͟ is not only good, it is b͟e͟t͟t͟e͟r͟ than the alternative. We must turn, though, to other Scriptures to obtain a bit more guidance in exercising this, such as Ephesians 4:15. We must ”Speak the truth in love”, wanting the best for the person in question, that his walk with the Lord will become more vital and his love for God’s people grounded in genuine care and concern. So, rebuke which is kindly, considerately, and prayerfully administered cement friendship rather than weakens it.

On the other side of the coin, when one receives a warranted reproof, though it may initially be painful, this can lead to good results when heeded. It is far better to experience the unpleasant effect of the rebuke that can be beneficial than to be left unaware. We are often the last to know of chinks in our armour until pointed out by those looking from the outside.

My dear wife has consistently been my most honest critic, and in the most gentle way, she has chided me and urged me to do better in many areas of my life. Thank God for our marriage vows for we love each other “for better, for worse”! And we believe with all our hearts we want each other to be daily transformed and drawn closer to the Lord.

What about Matthew 7, you say? 1“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you”.

3 ”Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”
4 ”How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?”

Brothers and sisters, let us leave passing judgement of behaviour to the Lord. Speak only out of concern for the person’s well-being. Let us also seek God in honest self-examination before we pursue such an exercise and be very conscious of the reminder in Ephesians.

Yes, it is a rough medicine from a close friend who tells you your shortcomings (perhaps a blind spot?) freely but to spare you, he does not reveal such rebuke to others.

T͟h͟a͟n͟ l͟o͟v͟e͟ c͟a͟r͟e͟f͟u͟l͟l͟y͟ c͟o͟n͟c͟e͟a͟l͟e͟d͟ : L͟o͟v͟e͟ does little good when it is c͟o͟n͟c͟e͟a͟l͟e͟d͟. The honest love of an o͟p͟e͟n͟ r͟e͟b͟u͟k͟e͟ can be much better than c͟a͟r͟e͟f͟u͟l͟l͟y͟ c͟o͟n͟c͟e͟a͟l͟e͟d͟ love. Perfect love expresses itself, does not hide, does not profess not to see, does not remain silent.

6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

6 Wounds from a friend can be trusted,
but an enemy multiplies kisses.

Verse 6a complements verse 5a. F͟a͟i͟t͟h͟f͟u͟l͟ a͟r͟e͟ t͟h͟e͟ w͟o͟u͟n͟d͟s͟ o͟f͟ a͟ f͟r͟i͟e͟n͟d͟. A ‘true f͟r͟i͟e͟n͟d͟’ is willing to ‘wound’ us with loving correction. The correction may not feel good – as genuine w͟o͟u͟n͟d͟s͟ w͟i͟l͟l͟ h͟u͟r͟t͟ o͟r͟ e͟v͟e͟n͟ s͟t͟i͟n͟g͟ e͟m͟o͟t͟i͟o͟n͟a͟l͟l͟y – but it will be an expression of the love and faithfulness o͟f͟ a͟ f͟r͟i͟e͟n͟d͟.

Think – who might be your ‘true friend’? Or who might you be a ‘true friend’ to? Parent, would you consider yourself your child’s ‘true friend’? Or husband, your wife’s? Or vice versa?

The unspoken presumption or condition precedent in order for one to speak words which may wound is a close relationship based on honesty and trust. One needs to speak words, though such words may wound, of life, of appreciation, of sincere reconciliation and forgiveness.

If this deep relationship is missing in your life, pray and ask God how such a relationship can be nurtured. It is never too late to start. It is never too late to pray and ask.

Who would not choose this faithful wound, however painful at the moment of infliction, rather than the multiple kisses of an enemy?

T͟h͟e͟ k͟i͟s͟s͟e͟s͟ o͟f͟ a͟n͟ e͟n͟e͟m͟y͟ a͟r͟e͟ d͟e͟c͟e͟i͟t͟f͟u͟l͟: This cautions us that not all k͟i͟s͟s͟e͟s͟ are the greetings of friends. They may come from an enemy and be d͟e͟c͟e͟i͟t͟f͟u͟l͟.

To sum up, value genuine friends, sincere and Godly men and women who would not hesitate to ”call a spade a spade” and point out our shortcomings to us. Let us too, be such to those around us that they find us loyal, true, and sincere, and thereby earn the right to give them hearty counsel.

Prayer

Our gracious Heavenly Father, we thank you for the week that has passed and the start of a new week. We thank you for this new day. Lord help us to count our days and recall what the Psalmist wrote:

10 Our days may come to seventy years,
or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
for they quickly pass, and we fly away.

11 If only we knew the power of your anger!
Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.

12 Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90

Help us Father to not waste these MCO days, but count each one as precious, for each has been ordained by You for a purpose in our lives. We pray we will seek Your will in this for us. For the time will come when the MCO will be lifted and the opportunities given by it may not come again.

May your Word today speak to us in respect of all the relationships in our lives. We thank you for each of them – our parents, our spouse, our children, our grandparents, our siblings, our relatives, our office colleagues, whether superiors or subordinates, our employees, our neighbours.

Lord, we want to make things right with them if things are not right. Teach us how Lord.

Thank You Lord for Your mercies shown toward Adriel and his parents. We give You thanks. May He grow to be a wonderful witness of Your faithfulness in his life, all the days of his life.

In Jesus’ Precious Name we pray. Amen.

Ps Cheng Cheung

xxx

每日灵粮
27/4/20
作者:张祯祥传道
箴言 27: 5

坦白的责备,
胜过暗中的爱。

弟兄姐妹,对于责备别人,你是否会犹豫不决,尤其是当对象是主内的家人?但是,你是否也会同意,在某些时间和地点,责备不仅好,而且比其他的选项更好?不过我们必须查看其他经文,获得更多的指导, 例如以弗所书4:15。我们必须“用爱心说诚实话”,希望对方能得到最好的,使他更看重与主同行,并以真诚的关心去爱上帝的子民。因此,仁慈的、体贴的、祈祷式的责备,可以巩固友谊,而不是削弱友谊。

另一方面,当一个人得到有必要的责备,虽然最初可能是痛苦的,但是若听取,可能会得到良好的结果。与其被蒙在鼓里,不如听逆耳忠言,因利于行。我们往往是最后一个不知道自己小而致命的弱点,除非局外人指出。

我亲爱的妻子一直是我最诚实的评论者,她以最温柔的方式责备我,并鼓励我在生活的许多方面做得更好。感谢上帝,我们在婚姻誓言里承诺彼此相爱,“不论好坏,不论祸福”!我们全心相信及希望彼此每天蜕变,并与主更加亲近。

也许你会问,那马太福音第七章呢?“不可判断人,免得你们被判断。你们怎样判断人,也必怎样被判断;你们用甚么标准衡量人,也必照样被衡量。为甚么看见你弟兄眼中的木屑,却不理会自己眼中的梁木呢?你自己眼中有梁木,怎能对弟兄说:‘让我除掉你眼中的木屑’呢?”

弟兄姐妹们,让我们把判断交给主。仅出于关心对方的福利而说话。在实践之前,让我们寻求上帝,诚实地自我检讨,并谨记以弗所书中的提醒。挚友告诉你的缺点或盲点的确是苦口良药,为了避免你受伤,也不告诉别人。

“胜过暗中的爱”:被隐藏的爱并没有好处。 当面责备的爱强如背地的爱。完美的爱善于表达,不隐瞒,不宣称不看,也不保持沉默。

箴言 27: 6
爱你的人加的创伤是出于忠诚;
恨你的人却与你连连亲吻。

第六节的上文补充了第五节的上文: “爱你的人加的创伤是出于忠诚。”一位真正的朋友是愿意以爱’伤’我们。 被纠正的当下可能不好受,因为真正的伤口会痛甚至刺痛心灵,但这是朋友爱和忠诚的表现。

想想:谁是你真正的朋友?还是你有可能和谁成为真正的朋友?父母,你是否认为自己是孩子真正的朋友?丈夫,你是妻子真正的朋友吗?太太呢?

说出具有杀伤力的话的主要条件,是与对方有诚实和信任的密切关系。一个人需要说有生命、欣赏、真诚和宽恕的话,虽然这有可能给对方带来伤害。如果你的生活中缺少这种深刻的关系,请祈求上帝帮助你培养。向上帝求吧,他永远不嫌晚。

无论当下多么痛苦,谁会宁可选择敌人多次的亲吻,而不选择忠诚的创伤呢?敌人的亲吻来自于欺骗。这告诫我们,并非所有的亲吻都是朋友的问候。 他们可能来自敌人,是欺诈。

总而言之,重视真正的朋友,真诚和虔诚的弟兄姐妹,他们会毫不犹豫地实话实说,并指出我们的缺点。 让我们也这样对待周围的人,当他们发现我们忠诚和真实,我们将赢得给他们忠诚建议的权利。

今日祷告:

满有恩典的天父,我们为过去的一周和来临的一周感谢你。 我们为新的一天献上感恩。 主,帮助我们数算自己的日子,回想诗人所写的:

我们一生的年日是七十岁,若是强壮可到八十岁,但其中所矜夸的不过是劳苦愁烦;转眼成空,我们便如飞而去。
谁晓得你怒气的权势?谁按着你该受的敬畏晓得你的愤怒呢?
求你指教我们怎样数算自己的日子,好叫我们得着智慧的心。(诗篇 90: 10-12 )

求天父帮助我们不要浪费行动管制令的日子, 珍惜每一天, 因为每日你已预定我们生命的目的。我们寻求你的旨意。 因为或许行动管制令被解除后,它所带来的机会也可能不会再现。

愿主你今天的话渗入我们生命的每部分。 我们感谢每个人:我们的父母,我们的配偶,我们的孩子,我们的祖父祖母,我们的兄弟姐妹,我们的亲戚,我们的同事,无论是上司还是下属,我们的邻舍。

主,如果我们与他们的关系紧绷,我们想纠正错误。 求主教我们。

感谢上帝怜悯小衡溢和他父母。 我们感谢你。愿他一生见证你的奇妙和信实。

奉主耶稣的名祷告,阿们。

巫惠如译

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