Proverbs 27:5 (NLT)
5 An open rebuke is better than hidden love!
It is good for us to be told of our faults and what we can do to better ourselves. One may think it is love to keep secret a sin that a friend commits, but it better the sin to be pointed out in love so the wrong might be made right. Love should not be hidden, but should be like a light revealing that which is wrong, while providing comfort and security.


A single man in our congregation was behaving inappropriately toward women. He badgered some women with unwanted phone calls. His conversations were reportedly marked with sexual suggestiveness. The situation required rebuke, and, if that was not effective, discipline. I asked this man to meet with me.

"I have been made aware," I said, that a number of women in our congregation are offended, some quite angered by things you have been doing. Let me be specific. You have raised inappropriate sexual subjects in conversation. There have been women who have reported that you have phoned them in a manner that they consider harassment. I'll be glad to give specific examples if you feel you need them."

The man cautiously admitted that there was substantial truth to the reports. Then I went on.

"I want you to hear me very carefully so there is no misunderstanding between us. I have thought about this for several days. I have asked God to give me wisdom, and I want to speak in Christian love and respect to you.

"But I want you to know that I am one who has a responsibility for the spiritual leadership of this congregation. Your behavior has been unacceptable according to Scripture and according to the covenantal life of this church. People have been hurt, and you have lost your credibility in their eyes.

"Christian men do not, as they say, 'hit' on women. They treat them with respect and honor. And if you do not understand how this is done, I will be happy to team you up with a man who can provide instruction for you.

"If there is one more instance of inappropriate behavior of this kind, I will immediately bring your name before the board of elders and ask them to put you under discipline. Have I made myself clear?"

The man assured me that he understood. I concluded our meeting with prayer, acknowledging God's presence in the conversation.

Later he took me up on my offer to connect him with a mature man who could provide guidance that he clearly had not received from other sources. I never got another adverse report about him again.

[Gordon MacDonald is editor-at-large of Leadership and chair of World Relief.]

The key sentence above was �I have asked God to give me wisdom, and I want to speak in Christian love and respect to you.� When we deal with the issues of others we must do it in wisdom and love. We are not there to hurt or offend, but instead teach and educate the person about their wrong. In love we guide in the right direction that they may no longer sin. If there are any of you struggling with sin ask someone you trust to hold you accountable so that love can reach out to you!