I speak from a woman’s perspective, undeniably, but remember when you were in love in grade school? Remember the furtive looks, the notes to your friends about the heart throb du jour, the deliberate manipulation of desk arrangements and lunch time activities? And all those phone calls with your BFF where all you talked about was what MW did, said, looked like, today? Not to mention the inevitable cajoling, “Ask his friend if he likes me.”
I didn’t do that; my friend did. I was too shy. But shy or not, we always want to know if we’re loved.
Proverbs 27:5 tells us that an open rebuke is better than secret love. Sometimes when the Book of Wisdom gives us a comparison like that, we think it’s saying that one is good and the other bad, or one is right and the other wrong. Often, though, it is merely saying that one is so bad, it makes the other look good by comparison. In this instance, secret love is so bad, we’re better off to receive an open rebuke!
I know it looks like I’ve gone off track here, but we’re going somewhere with this. We don’t like rebukes of any kind, usually, right? Sometimes they are downright nasty and unfair. That kind of rebuke can hardly be considered good…even if it is necessary and based on fact…because the way in which it is given might keep us from paying attention. But, on the other hand, sometimes rebukes come from a good place, in a good way. Someone who loves us might rebuke us in order to get us on a better path. If it works, that’s a good thing! In the end, we appreciate it, and recognize the love.
But secret love: What good does it do? I can’t think of any. What does secret love look like? I don’t know, do you? A mysterious gift, flowers, card might be exciting and fun, but in the end it is not that satisfying.
But love that is out there, real, honest, unselfish, unfailing love? Love that is known and seen and felt? Now that is something to behold!
God is not a secret lover.
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us” (1 John 3:11).
That one Love Gift carried many with it…gifts that flow from relationship with the giver. He told us about them in his book, his Love Letter to his beloved. He came and died, he said, so that we might have life and more “abundant” life, as he called it. He wasn’t just talking about eternal life in heaven. He brought gifts for our life right here and now, like freedom from fear and all it’s devastating fruit, boldness in the day of trouble, precious promises that let us partake of his divine nature, peace that passes understanding, wisdom for every situation if we ask. So many gifts! Such a passionate giver!
That looks like open, out there love. “Perfected” when its purpose, the blessing of the beloved, is met.
And that’s good, any day.