May 23 | Open Rebuke

Proverbs 27:5, “Better is open rebuke than hidden love.”

Today in the American culture “moral relativism” is the new trend. Moral relativism is a philosophy that believes, “All moral truths are relative to each person’s beliefs. No one is more right or wrong than another. Everyone should be tolerant and accepting of all moral beliefs.” The famous quote from moral relativists is, “What’s true for you, may not be true for me.”

As a result, this kind of thinking has led to people exalting tolerance and acceptance as the highest moral virtue. However, if you disagree with moral relativism then you are wrong and “closed minded.” Your belief of “absolute moral truth” should not be accepted or tolerated. The moral relativist has tolerance for every person’s belief, except the person that believes moral relativism is wrong.

Likewise, moral relativism is self-contradicting because when relativists make the statement, “there are no moral absolutes,” they have just made a moral absolute statement. The relativist believes their perspective is absolute, yet by definition they believe all truth is relative and there are no absolutes.

If someone says to you, “I don’t believe in absolute moral truth,” ask them, “Do you believe that statement is absolutely true?”

In reality, no one lives as a moral relativist (besides a few criminally insane people). Why? Because there are no rational people that believe it is okay for a mother to eat her child if she believes it will give her “good luck.” Every relativist draws their own lines and makes objective statements like, “It’s never okay for a mother to eat her child.” Moral relativists tend to make a box (or system) of moral standards to live by that are culturally normative and then inside that box they will allow each person to do what’s right in their own eyes. For example, the relativist will not allow people to rape and molest children according to their beliefs but they will be tolerant of those who believe in same sex marriage, sex changes and the like. Even for the moral relativist, not all beliefs are treated equally.

In contrast, as King Solomon points out in the book of Proverbs, God is not a moral relativist; rather, He is a divine Lawgiver. Therefore, according to King Solomon it is better to rebuke people openly when they break the laws of God than to support them in their sins in the name of “tolerance.” Hidden love is a false love that would rather affirm someone’s destructive behavior than help save their soul. No one would respect a parent that didn’t correct his or her child. Nor would anyone value a friendship where the friend didn’t warn them of impending danger. Therefore, hidden love is morally useless and extremely dangerous.

John Hagee said, “The vital Christian arouses opposition because he is a standing rebuke to the selfishness and sin of those around him.” True disciples of Christ should be willing to rebuke and correct others in love when they see people breaking God’s commands because true love demands that we share God’s moral correction. Anything less would actually be considered hatred because we care more about their opinion of us than their eternal soul. True love wants the best for people, both in this life and in the one to come!


Do you love people enough to let them know when they are wrong?


  1. Ask God to reveal any times in your life when you acted with “hidden love,” i.e., you didn’t share God’s moral standard.
  2. Make a decision to preach God’s Word to people around you.
  3. Pray that those you lovingly rebuke will listen and follow God’s commands.

One Year Reading Plan

2 Samuel 2:12-3:39, John 13:1-30, Psalm 119:1-16, & Proverbs 15:29-30. Click here to read online.


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