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Looking for a Proverb

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Somewhere I picked up the idea that the Bible says, “You can learn more from your critics than your friends.

Seemed to make so much sense that enemies are more likely than our friends to point out our faults, mistakes and blind sides.

But I’ve just spent some time trying unsuccessfully to find “what I thought was there” in Solomon’s collection of wise sayings.

What I found instead is,  “Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” (Prov 27:5-6).

So now I’m wondering whether I can find words in the Bible that are equivalent to: “You can tell a friend by the tear in their eye– as they lovingly, courageously, and gently do a “Nathan” on you.”

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70 Responses to “Looking for a Proverb”

  1. Bill says:


    This is a great topic.

    I’m not sure that concept is in Proverbs. But I do know this is:

    “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
    (Proverbs 27:17 ESV)

    The connotation of “iron” indicates someone with a strong will, or opinion. Not necessarily an enemy. Perhaps even a friend. But I’ve always understood this to mean that two people “sharpen” each other as they present hardness, sharpness, maybe even arguments. Such action “sharpens” by strengthening the opinions/ideologies of another — or causing one or both to abandon their positions and bonding more closely together as friends.

    For this reason, I’ve never really shied away from a lively debate, even criticism. I’ve learned the most in my life from those who sharply disagree with me. It drives me to study and re-think whatever position I’ve been holding. On more than one occasion, I’ve changed my opinions thanks to the new information.

    Just my two cents worth.


  2. narrowpathseeker says:

    I fully agree that enemies have been responsible for some of my greatest rude awakenings, but it took me many years to forgive the cruel and painful way they did it. While they were not doing it for my good, God used it for my good anyway.

    I think much emphasis should be put on the lovingly and gently part of it. I don’t think I have mastered that part of rebuke, because the reason I recognize when someone needs to be rebuked is because I am or have been guilty of the same or worse, so I try to keep silent. When I see someone that needs rebuke, rebuking someone else when there seems to be no need, I get very angry and love and gentleness is not there for me, so I keep silent.

    So there is a lot for me to learn on this subject. I am open to rebuke when it is done kindly and TRULY for my good, but when it is done in a subtle but condescending manner seemingly for the sole purpose of rising above me or whoever they rebuke, instead of helping me rise above myself, I am not receptive whatsoever. It merely provokes me to anger.

  3. remarutho says:

    Good Evening Mart & Friends –

    Jesus’ actions the night he gave himself up for us, according to the gospel writer John, are unfathomable – yet loving and tender – correcting the disciples’ pride and competitiveness with one another (not to mention their bad theology). It says, “…Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel…” (John 13:3-4)

    Jesus could see into his disciples’ hearts – something we cannot do. Yet, we can kneel down and wash another’s dirty feet as he did. In this way, from that most humble position, we should speak the truth to our real friends in Christ. And, when such a friend speaks the truth “with a tear in their eye,” it is time to listen carefully and gratefully receive the wound they inflict in love. (Proverbs 27:6) In my experience, this kind of spiritual resonance happens only after many years of sharing in the things of Christ’s kingdom. I believe you are right, Mart, it does take courage.


  4. remarutho says:

    I quoted John 13:5 without citation. Sorry. Maru

  5. His Sparrow says:

    Wow am I slow!

    What’s a “Nathan?”

    Anyway, for the first idea about learning from critics I wuz thinkin’ about Matthew 7 (And Luke 6) the sticky verse about —

    Judge not that ye be not judged… failing self-examination before verbally or bloggingly attacking my critics.

    Not a proverb, but maybe its paraphrased by another translation (The Message?) better than the King James where an idea is conveyed rather than the exact words.

    I’m in with y’all, a first choice would be gentle correction.

    His Sparrow

  6. SFDBWV says:

    Human nature; in an episode of “The Simpson’s” Homers daughter Lisa is criticizing Homer over some matter and Homer says to her in his best fatherly advice tone, “That’s nice honey you keep doing that, people like it when you point out their mistakes.”

    I like our friend “His Sparrow”, have never heard of a “Nathan” in any other sense other than a name. So I don’t have the foggiest as to how and react to Mart’s last statement.

    My father was an avid reader, being from a generation of no Television he grew up with a book in front of him as often as was possible; he used that old adage Mart has offered to me on several occasions “You can learn more from your critics than your friends.”

    Actually I thought it to be an “Arabian Proverb”.

    No matter, I am reminded straight off of Jesus’ comment that a Prophet is never accepted in his own country (Luke 4: 24). As I have often thought on that statement I have come to believe it is because people know too much about the person to believe them to be a *prophet*.

    So it is concerning receiving criticism or put another softer way *correction* from others.

    It is somewhat true that it is easier to *hear* criticism from an enemy or a stranger in that you expect criticism from an enemy and a stranger has nothing to lose in expressing their view of the matter.

    However a friend places their friendship on the line when they point out the mistakes of their friend.

    Most difficult of all is to hear someone attempt to correct you when you know them to have a less than honorable intention as well as a history of shortcomings themselves. Because you know their sins or weaknesses it is very difficult to accept any *advice* or *corrections* from them in an attempt to *straighten you out* when they themselves are so *crooked*.

    You know the other old adage and Bible quote found in Matthew 7: 3 “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brothers eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye.”


  7. pegramsdell says:

    Nathan was the prophet who told King David that God was not pleased about how he had Uriah killed to have his wife Bathsheba. 2 Samuel 12:1-15

  8. SFDBWV says:

    Thank you Peg, I knew of Nathan and his proclamation to David, but never heard it put forth as did Mart; glad to hear from you and happy you picked up on Mart’s usage right away.


  9. SFDBWV says:

    For any of you who have ever sharpened a knife using a “sharpening steel” you understand the concept brought forth from the Bible quote Bill has given (Proverbs 27: 17).

    Before the knife is finished on the steel it is first sharpened on a wet stone, the water is present to help keep the steel cool as it is dragged across the stone, without the water the steel’s temper can be compromised and become too hard or too soft than intended or designed.

    Once there is a rough sharpened edge on the knife from the stone, if you could see it there is a rough jagged and notched edge on the knife, in order to finish it off the knife is dragged against the sharpening steel in order to smooth off the jagged edge and produce a fine even edge.

    For those who may remember a barber will use a razor strop to do the same thing, the leather being softer than the steel but able to smooth off the edge of the razor with out the presence of *heat*.

    So applying that entire process to the idea that “two minds are better than one”, a better product is presented when in its rough state it is finished off by the combination of a shared effort instead of a lone single effort, educating and enlightening each in the process.

    Good job Bill.


  10. His Sparrow says:

    Thank you both!

  11. poohpity says:

    Here are a few that I have asterisked in my Bible; Pro 10:8; 12:1,15; 13:10; 23:12; 25:12; 28:23. Having gone to a lot of counseling and being in groups wanting to work on my many issues we learned that sometimes it takes someone to see something we may not be able to see our self and just like David’s response he admitted his reproach to God with a remorseful heart and asked for forgiveness.

  12. Bill says:

    Your examples were vivid, Steve. (I especially enjoyed The Simpsons reference.) You painted mental pictures that I saw clearly. Well done! Are you sure you’re not a writer?

    I don’t know if my citation was what Mart had in mind (as, I’m sure, he’s very familiar with Prov. 27:17). But it’s the verse I always think about when I encounter someone with the potential to “sharpen” me.

  13. poohpity says:

    Proverbs 10:8; 12:1,15; 13:10; 23:12; 25:12; 28:23.

  14. His Sparrow says:

    You’re so right Poohpity!

    Hey-I was riding my bike to the store this morning and I’m acquainted with an “old” gardener who also rides a bike around and appears homeless, but isn’t…get to the point Sparrow…OK

    We talked about God stuff and he said he learns the most from children. I agreed. Then he asked me if I knew why and said “Because they just came from the Creator.”

    That’s a way to learn more than from critics and friends. Children seem to be less effected by legalism.

    Could someone phrase that into a proverb for today? It seems along the line of Jesus instruction to Nicodemus to be born again and for us to be like the little children that come to Him.

    His Sparrow

  15. poohpity says:

    I found a couple more Eccl 7:5 and Psalms 141:5. There also comes a warning in Gal 6:1,2,3,4,5.

  16. poohpity says:

    I believe children are honest in their seeing what someone does and what someone says and most often they do not match. They have less masks and pretense to live under so they will confront with honestly until their parents teach them to not say truth because it causes harm but in the end it teaches them to lie.

  17. poohpity says:

    It is a very sad thing for a person to feel like correction will harm a friendship. It is also very sad to get our theology from country music, televisions shows and or movies. To feel it is a personal attack or that a person thinks more highly of themselves when they correct someone on what is written in scripture and it’s meaning is absolutely naive and false. The thought that we know it all and have nothing to learn shows a heart that is filled with pride. To not accept the fact that there will always be some who know more and some who will know less than others is just part of life. To accept the old adage that old dogs can not learn new tricks is completely against everything written in scripture.

    The fact is how refreshing it is to hear from peg or anybody else who’s desire it is to learn scripture, to search scripture and desire to be filled with the word of God. It is refreshing to see that people seek facts while wanting to learn throughout their life time and not accept everything they are told.

    I am so glad my friends, children or even people I do not know real well feel comfortable enough with me to call me when they see something that needs some work or an area that needs to change. I am so blessed by that and do not feel it is a personal attack to be wrong or not to know something. We are fed so many lies and if we do not know truth then we believe those lies. It is imperative in this day and age to be OK to be corrected, rebuked, get advice and seek to know God better and better because that is something that takes a life time to achieve and to think for one minute we ever reach that is a lie we tell ourselves.

    When someone says something to me and it emotes a feeling of defensiveness or anger I know it is something I may need to examine a little further and no matter what their relationship is to me it is a gift and how do I know whether or not God put that person in my life to give me a message from Him. God does not want to leave me as I am He wants me to grow over the process of a life time so how can we find problems with that. The difference in how we handle feedback shows a humble heart or a pride filled one.

    God uses scripture to convict us just like God used Nathan in David’s life but if one does not read then how do you hear from God? There are those who love us enough, outside of our everyday life, that may see things a little clearer than what we see while we are stuck in our little worlds.

  18. poohpity says:

    We are shown the difference in someone like David when God sent Nathan and his response, to those that God also sent prophets to like King Zedekiah to tell him to go peacefully to Babylon but rather rebelled and caused many to loose their lives when God had promised protection as they were taken into captivity. One paid attention and repented the other rebelled and lost his eyes and his children just because he was to smart to listen when confronted.

  19. foreverblessed says:

    Pooh, I agree with your comment “When someone says something to me and it emotes a feeling of defensiveness or anger I know it is something I may need to examine a little further”
    When we react in that way, it is most sure that it is our old man that is appearing, and that old man needs to go: Kill it.
    In fact, being corrected is a double blessing:
    one: to see if our old man is still alive
    two: to see what needs to be changed in us that is wrong anyway.

    David is a good example for being corrected, he was cursed by Shimei, an enemy when he fled for his son Absalom, he even listened to that man, who told him a truth David thought was right. 2 Samuel 16:8,9,10,11,12
    This all happened after his Nathan moment.
    Look what David says: It may be that the Lord will see my distress and repay me with good for the cursing I am receiving today.”
    David expected that God would turn his misery around in something good.
    What an expectation of David, he looked more to God then to his enemies.

  20. poohpity says:


  21. bubbles says:

    It’s a blessing to have a co-worker or a personal friend who is either so good at their job or of upstanding character. These individuals help me like iron sharpens iron because THEY make me want to be a better person. It’s a blessing to spend time with them.

  22. narrowpathseeker says:

    I haven’t been able to get on line all day until now, but I wrote this, this morning offline.

    I admire as well as appreciate those that can recall massive scripture at a moments notice and use it to encourage, lift, teach, and/or redirect in a way that you see and hear the love of Christ in their words. I don’t remember scripture word for word nor can I give book, chapter, and verse at a moments notice to look it up, I have gained much here from so many of you with the heart of Christ and the lips to coincide with that heart.

    Many years ago, I was involuntarily transferred to a job position where I had to work side by side with a woman who had just broken up a marriage with young children and married that man 20 years younger than she. I was self righteously appalled and asked, “How can I possibly work so closely with that woman?” The man just looked at me and softly replied, “Maybe, just humble yourself?” He shut my big mouth(which wasn’t easy back then) and I wasn’t even angry. I think that was because he didn’t give me a condescending speech and he had no look of total disgust on his face, but rather a look of pity…I was speechless and knew immediately that I had been given life changing advice. I not only went on to work with that woman, but I shared that story with her and apologized for my attitude while “kindly” letting her know that I was very bothered by what she did. Over the years that followed, she always respected me for my honesty and I was able to(on occasion) serve as a peacemaker between her and some that had felt as I did before being awakened to my self righteousness.

    When I get on a high horse, in these later years when I sometimes can’t remember what I did 5 minutes ago, I still remember quite clearly that man’s words, “Maybe, just humble yourself?” I think that was a kind and gentle rebuke that has stuck with me ..sort of a gift that keeps on giving.

  23. lovely says:

    dear all
    Its been a while since i ‘ve posted on this blog
    I like this subject. I ‘ve been a believer long enough to learn that God’s sharpening never ends. As painful as it is it is necessary.From the world to the church just when i thought the sharpening will get easier it was harder in the church .
    Don’t know if anyone agree but confronting an unbeliever is easier than a believer
    As i come from Asia to confront takes courage please pray for me to rebuke and accept rebukes

  24. billystan864 says:

    At first I was puzzled by your question Mart, but after a few minutes I understood. Like a flash of light your question was answered. Right in the very verses you referenced. “Open rebuke” an honest and bold friend telling me what I don’t want to hear. As was already said “friends” that dilly dally around the issue at hand are really just obsticles stunting growth. “Love carefully revealed” is not really love. Why would anyone hide their love for another human being? Or, why would a “friend” avoid telling you that you had made some mistakes, regardless of what the mistakes may have been?
    Jesus is the ultimate example of the word friend. When dealing with obstinate disciples He was very quick to tell them about it. To Peter Jesus responded, “Get behind me, Satan. You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”
    Would you or I be willing to tell a friend that they were a stumbling block for us,getting in the way of our Christian growth, dragging us backward? I would like to think that I would, but….

  25. SFDBWV says:

    I haven’t kept count of the years that I have been here on this blog, it never seemed important for me to. That is one of those trivial pieces of information that doesn’t matter much to whatever subject is being kicked around.

    I have though seen many people leave the blog filled with anger and resentment after someone or everyone tried to show them of a problem they may have had with scripture interpretation or with simple personality issues.

    Not one of them ever accepted the “rebuke”, “correction”, “criticism, or advice as anything less than an insult. None have come back and as they left they expressed contempt for those who felt it necessary to *correct* them.

    Unfortunately some people here can hide behind the computer screen and present themselves as they want others to *see* them, all the while they themselves never being honest with the people here and especially with themselves.

    Though once you’ve been here long enough there are certain personality traits that can’t be hidden all that well.

    So looking at Marts statement “Seemed to make so much sense that enemies are more likely to point out our *faults*, *mistakes*, and *blindsides*; I come to the place to wonder to what standard or whose standard is someone to criticize another?

    There is a great difference between *constructive criticism* and fault finding.

    This subject should not authenticate fault finders and critics among us who look to tear apart another’s attempt to be honest and share themselves with others here, but rather should make us look inward at what motivates us to feel we are qualified to correct another.

    We all know what a hypocrite is, sometimes that is all that is exposed when one person tries to *correct* another.

    I have said about all I want to with this subject, it seems to grieve the Spirit and doesn’t make me feel good, so as before I think I will set it out for a while unless led to say more.


  26. foreverblessed says:

    Welcome Lovely, you say that it is hard for an asian to confront, can you tell a little more about it, so I can understand. We have many people from Indonesia in our country, and I would like to understand them better, they are not as open as western people. Maybe your description will help. Thanks.

  27. foreverblessed says:

    Steve, I find your comment well, what should I say, just to try and do what Mart posted, not to put you down, but to ask, why so negative? Why would we not pray for all those who have left angry? Let’s pray for them, and ask God to make something positive about these collisions.
    But remember one of them did not get angry when being told the bold truth right in his face over here, and that was Bob from Cornwall, thank God. That was so good, it was thrilling. Prov 24:11, that is what this man did who confronted. But it should be done by the lead of the Holy Spirit, God being with it.

  28. tracey5tgbtg says:

    When I first read the blog opening, the verse that came to mind was, “let a righteous man strike me – it is a kindness; let him rebuke me – it is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it.” Psalm 141:5. I saw that Poohpity had mentioned that verse as well.

    That is hard for me, because criticism is something I always want to avoid receiving, yet somehow find so many opportunities to give to others.

    I think we tend to see someone who is correcting us as an enemy, but maybe it is not so. I know this was mentioned before, and I agree with it, that something that makes us angriest to hear is something we might need to hear.

    Who is our real enemy? Our spiritual enemy seeks to kill and destroy us, but will always come masquerading as an angel of light trying to deceive. Probably with flattery and temptation. The things that tempt us most are things we really want and feel we should have. We are never tempted by that which disturbs us and makes us uncomfortable.

    Narrowpathseeker – I was touched by your story. I can easily relate. And yes, what words of wisdom – to just humble myself.

    A wise man accepts reuke – it is indeed a gift that keeps on giving.

  29. poohpity says:

    I guess I misunderstood. I did not think for a moment we were talking about judgement or criticism, I do not think that is what Nathan was doing at all.

    Just recently during a community meeting we had here at my apartments I was rebuked by my friend in front of the whole community because my voice got a little louder than it should of because I was feeling passionate about the so called leader taking over rather than letting the community vote on things but was in the place of a dictator rather than a leader. My feelings got hurt and I walked out of the meeting only an hour later did I realize that my message got lost because of the way I presented it and I was convicted and had to apologize for not what I said but how I said it. This man is in late 80’s and told me that the minute you raise your voice everybody just shuts out what is said and that was his gift to me but at the time it did not feel like a gift. That was a rebuke/correction to help me grow not a judgment or criticism. How I received it was like a little child being scolded when it was in fact another adult who cared for me and wanted me to be heard and to use a gentle voice it gets more done.

    David accepted what Nathan and Shime-i said without a retort. It is pride to say we never mess up or there may not be a different way of doing things. I guess I do not feel that is a judgement or a criticism it is a correction because we all have room to grow.

  30. tracey5tgbtg says:

    David did accept what Nathan said when he realized Nathan was talking about him. When he thought Nathan was talking about a rich guy stealing a poor guy’s lamb, (bad, but not as bad as adultery and murder) he thought the guy should die.

    It always easier to see the fault in others and judge them for it.

    David was a man after God’s heart. He loved God, and yes he could accept what Nathan said as a judgement on his own actions and ask God for forgiveness. Some might have been angered by Nathan’s words and seen them as criticism and regarded Nathan as an enemy for daring to judge their actions.

  31. poohpity says:

    It is easier to see a fault in another but I have to always ask myself if I see that in someone else is it because I have that problem too? The old finger pointing thing that there are three pointing back at me. I think that is why Paul wrote that in Gal 6:1NLT

  32. Bob in Cornwall England says:


    Just been reading through, catching up on the posts as I was busy yesterday and missed the change in topic.
    I was surprised to see my name mentioned in your comment on September 8, 2012 at 9:08 am.

    I can only think you were referring to Ron Ben Yacov’s post to me a couple of years ago. He is now in Israel I believe.
    I copied and kept those posts on my desk top for along time & have only recently deleted them.
    I needed to mull over them for awhile as they hurt me greatly at the time but later the comments helped me to come to terms with problems in my life.
    At the time I was only trying to share who & where I was and only saw arrogance coming out of Ron.
    His rebuke to me was like a body blow and it knocked me off my feet.
    Maybe it was another incident you are referring to, but that is the one that stands out to me.
    I did get angry, but allowed God to use that anger for good and not evil.
    Just like David was angry with Nathan’s little parable but his remorse and repentance turned it for good in his life and after that he loved God even more because he was forgiven much.
    I was glad when Ron went from this site, but I will thank him one day when we meet up again!
    I have often made some “strong” comments on here.
    Some to educate and some to shock.
    Mainly to our friends in the USA as they often are so busy looking inwards that they miss what is happening in the world at large and forget there are 7 billion people out here with an opinion.
    I used to be so anti USA but now I can put up with their little foibles.
    There is great love and understanding among many on this blog.
    Some are teachers, some apostles, some need prayer, but all of us need each other, and each other in Christ.


  33. SFDBWV says:

    Foreverblessed you are a kind and gentle soul, it shows in all you say, but everyone is not as are you.

    The beginning of Marts subject reads as follows;” You can learn more from your critics than your friends.” Then “Seemed to make so much sense that enemies are more likely than our friends to point out our FAULTS, MISTAKES, and BLINDSIDES.”

    Mart then tries to find a comparable proverb, there is none, so moving into other proverbs changes the concept of someone pointing out what they consider to be faults, mistakes and blindsides in another to an entirely different application.

    Nathan spoke for God in coming to David, are we then to believe if someone tells you or I that we need corrected because they disagree with what we may say or how we may present our thoughts that they speak for God?

    Is how we may present a thought here a fault in our character? If we don’t completely agree here on any issue who then has made the mistake? Are we blindsided if someone else disagrees? And finally do our critics speak for God or for themselves?

    I only have answered because I have respect for you, please understand this is a subject for others to discuss here, not me, as I see it as a negative and would rather say nothing that may expand it then find myself having to defend my thoughts or worse.

    Please understand I can accept constructive criticism and correction from anyone, but to find myself being debased by someone I have no respect for only for their sadistic enjoyment or cynical nature while masquerading as following a precept from scripture is something I would rather avoid.

    Bob in Cornwall never got angry and left the blog as a result, but there have been plenty who have. I never said we should not pray for those who left, my point is that people got offended here after being confronted by some or all of us and left because of it thinking the worse for any and all for their *rebuke*.


  34. Bob in Cornwall England says:


    You know how much I respect and love you and the way you give so much both here and to your family & community.
    I respect your opinion on this subject but feel you may be taking Mart’s words too literal when he is only trying to promote discussion on whether it is better to keep silent in love or to speak the truth in love.
    Or does an enemies words that are said to hurt us actually do good if we give them over to God.
    God works ALL for good to those that love Him.
    It all depends on how we see things and how we act on events and how much we allow words and events to effect us.


  35. narrowpathseeker says:

    Steve, I am fairly sure we are on the same page and reading the same paragraph. If that is so, from what I have seen rebuke would not be accepted although the claim is put forth, denial is usually what follows or a seemingly superficial apology. For what it’s worth, when I want to scream I just pray for those who think I’m deaf and blind and take a break like you. I also feared this thread may serve as a license for faultfinding. God Bless you Steve, you are a super major blessing to this site and to me..Thank you.

  36. narrowpathseeker says:

    Was not Judas an enemy that the other disciples and Jesus dealt with daily? Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” (Prov 27:5-6). I don’t recollect even Jesus rebuking him(of course my memory fails so often). But if Jesus didn’t rebuke him wouldn’t that indicate that it would have fallen on deaf or unreceptive ears? If so, are we to rebuke those who time and time again have shown themselves to be deceitful and more of an enemy than a friend? I know we are to love our enemies, pray for them, and do good unto them, but are we to pretend that we don’t recognize their often subtle and sometimes very clear cruelty? I would TRULY like to know how we are to respond to such people. I’m sorry if this sounds cruel and offensive, but if it does, then I would have to ask why you can’t see the cruelty I am speaking about.

  37. Bill says:

    Things seem to have taken a turn in this thread.

    I don’t think Steve missed the point of Mart’s post. He said some people leave in a huff when faced with a rebuke or a criticism. That’s neither positive nor negative. That’s reality. People do.

    It appears there’s an undercurrent of irony in this thread. I can’t put my finger on it. But it seems to shine through the words from time to time.

    In our collective haste to prove how tolerant and patient and understanding we are (able to take great criticism with aplomb), it feels like we’ve come to the point where we’re now debating just precisely what tolerance and patience and understanding really means — and how it’s applied. I can’t cite specific examples. And I may be all wet in this opinion. But something feels amiss to me.

    For example, I’m sure Bob didn’t mean this as condescendingly as it comes across:

    “I have often made some “strong” comments on here. Some to educate and some to shock.

    Mainly to our friends in the USA as they often are so busy looking inwards that they miss what is happening in the world at large and forget there are 7 billion people out here with an opinion.

    I used to be so anti USA but now I can put up with their little foibles.”


    I’m sure Bob didn’t mean to infer that the USA doesn’t care about the rest of the world (especially since we’ve given so much aid — food, medicine, military, helping hands — that we’re trillions in debt and on the brink of economic collapse due, in part, to our altruism). He probably didn’t mean that only European countries, or the UK, truly cares and/or knows what’s going on in the world. His comments were likely tongue in cheek. But I took them in a way he didn’t intend. That’s how easy it is to misinterpret something, especially in print.

    Speaking of which, I’m not sure Mart’s theme was “…trying to promote discussion on whether it is better to keep silent in love or to speak the truth in love.” I’m not sure the “in love” part is necessarily part of the equation. In fact, Mart mentioned enemies and the criticism/rebuke they can heap on us. There’s very little loving about an enemy.

    But narrowpathseeker hit the nail on the head. This thread did take a turn.

    However, I think what we see here is merely a microcosm of why Christians find it so hard to find peace in the world. They’re not at peace themselves. They always feel the need to pass judgment, criticize, rebuke, and/or correct — all “in love,” of course. But the end result is so much finger pointing that there’s no rest for us. We’re either on the giving end, or the receiving end…forever fending off attacks. Or planning our next ones. We can’t just “be” because everyone’s definition of “be” is different.

    Here’s what I mean, in an example from narrowpathseeker (posted September 7, 2012 at 9:39 pm):

    “I not only went on to work with that woman, but I shared that story with her and apologized for my attitude while “kindly” letting her know that I was very bothered by what she did.”

    Even after you were humbled to the point of keeping the self-righteous comments to yourself, later you still felt the need to tell the coworker (albeit “kindly”) what you thought. You went on to write:

    “Over the years that followed, she always respected me for my honesty and I was able to (on occasion) serve as a peacemaker between her and some that had felt as I did before being awakened to my self righteousness.”

    When were you awakened to your self righteousness? When the guy told you to humble yourself? Or after you told her what you thought of what she did? And could you have served as peacemaker on her behalf had you not first told her what you thought of her? Could you have done so, anyway, as one fallen human being to another?

    Again, it’s entirely possible I’m all wet in the vibes I’m picking up in this thread. It’s likely due to recently being on the receiving end of a fundamentalist rant the likes of which I’ve not seen or heard in a long time. So I my hackles may be raised.

    My opinion, for what it’s worth: I think Christians could stand to be a lot more loving and silent…and a lot less critical and vocal.

    Again, just my opinion. Your mileage may vary.

  38. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Luke 22:47,48

    While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

    I doubt Jesus was expecting an answer to that question, so it must have been a rebuke or a best a cynical remark.

  39. Bob in Cornwall England says:


    What I said was not “tongue in cheek” That is how I see the USA.
    You are victims of your own propaganda, but that is just my opinion.
    Also by saying that whole statement, I was trying to convey that I have been as guilty as any of critical comments on this blog especially of those in the USA because I do not see you as you see yourselves.
    Whenever I make a comment about US thinking I get a torraid of anti Brit comments usually set about the time the American revolution.
    I honestly mean no harm, just voicing how I see things.


  40. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    The implication from Bill is that my joining in this topic has change the tone.
    I only commented after I saw my name mentioned by foreverblessed.
    I was not quite sure that I deserved a mention and tried to explain that I was angry at the time and as guilty as anyone at making “rebuking” comments.
    I guess, like Steve, it is time to call “time out” and have a rest from this topic, leaving it to those who obviously know what they talking about.

  41. Bill says:

    I never stated (or even implied) you changed the tone, Bob.

    I mentioned a few posts (Steve’s, yours, narrow’s). But it wasn’t any specific post that made me feel things had changed. It was the aggregate, the general undercurrent of all of them in totality. Your post was apropos for my example because it seemed to capture the spirit of what I tried to express.

    No ill will intend. To anyone. As I mentioned repeatedly, I could merely have been interpreting things incorrectly because of my own perception. So no one should assume my post is anything more than an expression of a lack on my part.

  42. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    I am only human Bill & capable of a good tantrum/sulk as anyone!

  43. foreverblessed says:

    Narrow, thank you very much for your story, “it’s time to be humble”.
    This is such a hard thing to learn.
    Steve, you are very right, when someone comes in here and gives us some strange correction, or that we should see believe a weird theology, we do not have to accept that.
    What Mart was talking about is that enemies do see very clearly what is wrong with us. There was not a proverb, but I think the story of David with Shimei was a good example. David learned form this bitter enemy an important lesson, the reason why he could not built the temple, that was because he had to much blood on his hands.
    Isn;t that what Mart is trying to tell us, you can learn from your enemies. But these weird doctrines that have to be pushed down our throats, I don’t know about that. The only thing I can learn about it: how do I react, do I get agitated about this person, that is the old man I have to get rid of. and that is a positive.
    One thing I have learned from commenting here, is to see how much old man is still in me. Very very good practice. I am not that kind, but I want to have Jesus grow in me, His grace, His patience. He has been patient with me, and very graceful, and so should I treat others.
    (One more thing Shimei did not get away with his cursing David after all, 1 Kings 2:44,46) So being kind does not mean that bad things are overlooked, unless covered by the blood of Jesus, then it is gone once for all.

  44. foreverblessed says:

    Bob, Steve, great guys you are! All we are we owe to the grace of God, I am nothing myself either. it is God working in us, that makes us shine like the morning star. Thank God for Him, and for you all. THank you thank you.

  45. narrowpathseeker says:

    Well Bill it was many many years ago, but to the best of my recollection I think the way I saw it at the time is that I didn’t want to be a hypocrite. I believed I was confessing to her that I had had unkind thoughts and I apologized for the attitude and let her know that this man had put me in my place. It wasn’t like she DIDN’T know that a lot of people felt as I had. The wife of the broken marriage worked in the next dept(the husband worked there also) and everyone knew what was going on. I think I thought at the time that knowing that someone(the man that told me to humble myself) wasn’t against her and was doing his part trying to put a stop to the talk….. might be a positive thing to know everybody wasn’t against her.

    If I was being self righteous by telling her, it didn’t feel like I feel when I recognize myself being self righteous. It was a very awkward moment for me. I explained how much it hurt me to see the former wife fighting back tears as she walked by them and how they kissed as soon as they saw her coming to rub salt in the wounds. Before the first day was over, I pleaded with her to not do that anymore, if not for the wife than for me because it hurt me so much. They DID stop.

    SO in conclusion Bill I am painfully aware of how far I fall short of rising above myself…self righteousness false pride, jealousy, anger, and all other selfishness of the flesh rises up in me that I have to battle. I would like to ask you if your delivery of your belief that I continued to be self righteous by being honest with her was other than condescending and deliberately belittling? Ok.I am taking a break with Steve and Bob. Have a good night.

  46. poohpity says:

    Steve’s 6:11am and narrows 1:43pm posts although not forthright were directed my way. They feel I am a hypocrite, self righteous and my apologies are not from the heart when I have offended someone by calling a name and responding in anger.

  47. His Sparrow says:

    Proverbs 16:7 KJ

    When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.”

    So when a situation happens, I better remind myself to ask the Lord first.

  48. royalpalm says:

    Hello, BTA family,

    Mart, thanks for this topic… personally, I welcome criticism for it gives me a chance to discover how I am perceived and what others perceive in me so I can correct myself and do better. I like to learn from my mistakes. It is very humbling to have others point out my inadequacies but I think it is necessary because my own reflection is limited like in the mirror; I can only see myself when I am in front of it, others however see me all the time. Of course we need to weigh these criticisms and reflect on them…If what is said is not true, just delete it.. Also, what people see in us are just our outward appearance.. God, however, sees our hearts and He is the better judge of our motivations and actions.

    As members of God’s family, we need to correct and rebuke each other in love. Sin is deceitful that is why Jesus taught that we should look out for each other and rebuke those who sin . We also need to forgive those who repents. Luke 17:3,1,2. 4 This is not only for the sake of the one who sins but also for God’s honor.

    As lovely mentioned it is hard to confront and rebuke -because sin is most often deliberate. I remember having to confront a Christian friend who was having an immoral lifestyle. Her family knows about it and condoned it. Yet, I told her- that she is my friend and I cared about her and that her lifestyle is not a good witness for herself and for the Lord. She changed – and even now she mentions that time and how God affirmed the truth of my words and my concern for her and how she got convicted of her sin. We’re always friends.

    As I read the previous posts, I am confused why some take other’s comments personally and seem to be offended. I do not see anything wrong with the comments – they are forthright and honest and mean well. As for those who left the blog, it was their decision and they know that they can post again. I think it is not healthy to blame someone or yourself for their own choices.

    This is just my humble opinion…

  49. SFDBWV says:

    I have been working it out in my mind why this topic seems offence to me. In doing so I come to the Biblical knowledge that it is scriptural to *rebuke* another, however in doing so I find it to be in contrast to some of the teachings of Jesus.

    In John 8: 7 we see Jesus telling the accusers of the adulterous woman for him without sin to cast the first stone at her, no rebuke for her only a silent rebuke for her accusers.

    In Matthew 7: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Jesus teaches and warns us not to judge another unless we ourselves want to be judged as such and points out that we all need self cleansing before we can attempt to clean another.

    In Matthew 5: 9 Jesus says blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Is a peacemaker making peace when they confront another about their faults, mistakes and blindsides?

    In John 13: 21, Jesus tells the Disciples one among them would betray him. In John 13: 26 Jesus identifies him, but not by name and in John 13: 27 Jesus tells him to go and do what it is that Satan wants him to do. Why didn’t Jesus rebuke him?
    In Jude 1: 9 we read that the Archangel Michael when arguing with the devil dare not bring a railing accusation but rather says “The Lord rebuke thee.”

    Finally in Galatians 5: 22, 23 we see the fruits of the spirit, not one of them places us in a position of being an accuser of the brethren, rather Galatians 5: 19, 20, 21 does give rise to motives and action behind the possibility of why someone might.

    Please understand, I too agree if there is one among us who is slipping into sin we should gently point out the danger of their actions, but we must ourselves be very cautious and wise in the delivery and await the movement of the Holy Spirit when doing so.

    I hope this may partially clear up for those of you who wonder why it is I find the topic uncomfortable.


  50. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    For a busy man you sure do spend a lot of time listening to God & have a heart like Jesus.

    I don’t particularly like the phrase, but the term “what would Jesus do/say?” springs to mind.

    If we poses the fruits of the Spirit and live according to His leading and only say what The Holy Spirit gives us to say, as Jesus did, then there would be no condemnation or rebukes, just conviction in the hearts of those it applies to.
    “anyone without sin cast the first stone” being probably one of the best examples of this.


  51. narrowpathseeker says:

    His Sparrow; thank you for posting Proverbs 16:7 . I can’t explain it very well, but when I hear or read something that the Lord wants me to pay very close attention to at any given time, it’s like a light goes on in my head. The Proverb you posted this morning did just that for me. Thank you

    Steve; thank you for taking the time to gather all those scriptures and for sharing your wise understanding of them. Your message seemed to me to fit right in with Proverbs 16:7. I think today is going to be a very productive day in my spiritual garden.

    Good Morning Royal, I agree that rebuking is a very difficult thing to do. Moreover, for me it is a very complicated and difficult concept to understand. I think Steve and Sparrow’s scripture references this morning were very insightful.

  52. narrowpathseeker says:

    Bob, I was finished writing the above when my daughter came in and it was well over an hour before I came back to post it. I didn’t see your message till just now. I was thinking the same thing about Steve. I share your thoughts that it is quite evident that he spends much time listening to God.

  53. poohpity says:

    My hunch is the hurt feelings came from “It is also very sad to get our theology from country music, televisions shows and or movies.” although I am not very good at guessing how I offended, criticized or judged anyone from that statement. It would help me if you two were to be more specific and directed any thing you have to say to me, to me. Rather than making me guess at what I did by generalized statements and name calling, to cause you harm. I do not know how to correct something I am not really sure of and since my apologies are not heart felt what good would it do. Please be specific at what I did wrong according to you to get the name of hypocrite, self righteous and a liar(to say my apologies are not heartfelt).

  54. poohpity says:

    At least the woman who was brought before group knew what she was getting the stones thrown at her for.

  55. poohpity says:

    I know you see just words before you but I am a real person made up of flesh, bones and a heart. Apparently I am also a mind reader who is a friend one moment(Steve) then an enemy in the next breath who has very large shoulders. That is where you are wrong my shoulders are not so big to take the name calling and belittling without knowing for sure what I did wrong and not even when I know what I did wrong. My heart gets crushed too!! Which it is right now.

  56. poohpity says:

    So please be honest with me in what I did wrong.

  57. foreverblessed says:

    Dear Pooh, I wanted to join in the paralympics, but was urged to address this to you. You thought that Steve and Narrow were talking to you when they posted, when was it.. yesterday or the day before, but that was not at all directed to you, he was talking about those who were angry and left, you never left.
    And besides, today I was at church and heard this message: first ask God what He says about you, before believing what others say to you. Because many things are not true, just labelling.
    Sorry Pooh, Jesus loves you, He is very pleased with you, looks from heaven and smiles at you. And so does He to all of us here.
    Although there are things that need to be sanctified in us, but we are on the way.

  58. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    So often we think things are meant for us and they are not.
    I did not take offence yesterday at Bill, just felt my name and thoughts were being aired too much and too long.
    Now if I was totally dead to self I would have taken it as a compliment, instead I just had to have the last word.
    Sorry Bill!
    Often we pick up vibes that are not there, a sign of paranoia on our part.
    Do what you do best, and think of others before your own feelings, then other’s words will wash over you.
    Would it do any good to know if whatever vibe you felt was directed at you or not?


  59. bubbles says:

    The proverb that this post was taken from; about iron sharpening iron should and can be seen in a positive note.

    If we each lived our own life according to God’s standards, we can be an encouragement to each other.
    If we are working towards being the best we can for God with the Holy Spirit’s help, that alone will help those closest to us; sharpening their own iron.

    This is just like the dear ones who have made me want to be better because being in their presence is uplifting and encouraging. Not because they are pointing out what they see as lacking in my life.

    Should it not be more of a positive thing than to constantly point out the mote in another’s eye?

    I believe many times those who try to sharpen another’s “iron” can do so but offend the other. We must “know” the other one intimitely. I don’t think this is for us to do to just anyone.
    Often those who are attempting to “sharpen” another may do so to give their own ego a boost, or make their own selves appear more “spiritual” than another, when in reality it could be more for their own selves than the benefit of another. Perhpas this could also be done out of envy or jealousy, trying to “one up” the other person.

    The act of sharpening a dear friend’s iron must be done first with prayer and preparation, and then with gentleness, love, and humility.

    A soft answer turns away wrath.

  60. Bob in Cornwall England says:


    I have a good friend called Joyce, I have known her for over 40 years and she is now 79 years old.
    She often takes me to task about deep, deep, things in my life but, even after all these years, she will pray long and hard and maybe wait for many months for the right moment.
    She is very wise and listens to the Holy Spirit!


  61. Bill says:

    Did you guys ever see the episode of The Twilight Zone titled “The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street”?

    It’s about an idyllic neighborhood — all close-knit people, very good friends — that falls apart and starts shooting at one another when they suspect aliens have landed and infiltrated their quiet little corner of the world.

    We have our own version of “Monsters” going on right here.

    Seriously, folks. Take a look at this thread. Look at how a close-knit bunch of Christians deteriorated into a group of people fearful of saying the wrong things, hurt feelings, suspicions of name-calling, sullenness, and in-fighting.

    Frankly, I don’t think anyone insulted anyone here. No one was criticized. No one was slighted. No feelings should have been hurt. If we — this group of adult, steeped-in-the-Bible, compassionate, intelligent people — can’t even have a discussion about a topic Mart posts without melting down like this (note: with no confeticat involved!)…there’s a problem. I mean that. All flowery Bible-speak aside, when the rubber meets the road, if we’re not able to speak with love amongst ourselves, then we really need to question what it is we believe, and why.

    For the record: I think everyone here is a gem. I don’t get the feeling anyone here is out to get anyone else. I certainly mean no harm. And I definitely don’t think you guys do, either. So let’s grow up, act like adults, and be compassionate…and trusting.

    THIS, I think, is what Steve warned us about. It came to pass, didn’t it?

    As usual, this is merely my opinion. Take it or leave it as you see fit.

  62. lovely says:

    sorry this comes late but as Asian (speaking for the majority) we usually are not taught to express our opinion especially to someone older than you. We are taught to be respectful & that means being silent. so sometimes bringing this culture to church can be a problem. That’s kinda like Jesus and the Pharisees times. Pharisees view themselves as more experience and older than Jesus and thus find it hard to accept Jesus words.So when you can’t be truthful you have to put on mask and that can be suffocating its sad to see that in churches today. But thanks be to God who sent me mentors & friends from the West that encourages me to express myself.To all bloggers here i learn from all your comments and encourages me to express myself thank you very much. As for this subject i think if we view all of us in the same body of Christ than we will want to use words that build each other up , we do tend to fall that we encourage and pick each other up but still Leave Jesus as the head who is in control.

  63. poohpity says:

    Lovely, no truer words than “So when you can’t be truthful you have to put on mask”. Not many people are honest and truthful because they are afraid for others to see the reality of who they really are but the Lord already knows. One day everything will be brought to light and they may find there was no reason to hide behind those masks to begin with because they are loved in spite of.

  64. poohpity says:

    I think that is why the statement “and the truth will set you free” is so important.

  65. His Sparrow says:


    I didn’t think any of the comments you mentioned were directed at you…you are very caring about people not being straight up about their salvation. Just like Jesus, we don’t want anyone left out.


    Thank you. It is very easy for me to fall into being a “people pleaser” and has been the door for hurt to enter my life. Now-a-days I can just throw my hands up in despair and say that proverb, and the Lord reminds me His truth has set me free-do I want to live it?

    Narrow and Steve

    I have one hummingbird that has it’s own native Penstemon eatoni, or firecracker penstemon in the yard. When it goes temporarily out of flower in July/August, the bird goes into my greenhouse and shops for flowers. This year I found it testing the yard-long Asian bean flowers. It also loves zinnias. I too, am being imprinted with thoughts of y’all when I see my wild “pet.”

    I like the word “y’all” a lot. When I was in boot camp, most of my troop was from the south or east coast. I picked up the use of y’all ’cause it sounded so friendly. When I got home to California, I could still speak it, but when I had to write…I had to convert to “all of you.” It now seemed awkward.

    Which reminds me of the proverb:

    For a man to have friends, he must first show himself to be friendly.

    Love y’all

    His Sparrow

  66. poohpity says:

    His Sparrow, although they have not admitted to it a few of their comments were directed at me, not to me but at me. I did not expect them to fess up to it that is not how they roll because they would have said something by now but I understood what they were saying and I guess that is what they wanted in the first place. It is no big deal and although people think I am imagining it, I can roll with that. It is dropped as far as I am concerned.

  67. narrowpathseeker says:

    Sparrow, you have your own greenhouse? Neat! You help to nourish the birds, bees, and butterflies in all kinds of weather!

  68. His Sparrow says:




    yes…28’x48′ x 14′ high. God has shown me awesome things through its use-how beautiful He is, how he is the God who provides-exceedingly abundantly-in and out of season.

  69. narrowpathseeker says:

    Sparrow..AMEN! God provides all of us with spectacular entertainment 24/7 and it’s FREE!! All we have to do is take the time to look, listen, and/or touch. Well, maybe not totally free for us gardeners, but the entertainment alone is well worth the cost and labor that goes into it.

  70. His Sparrow says:

    Amen Narrowpathseeker!

    From galaxies to thunderstorms, rabbits to hummingbirds, flowers to fish and polliwogs…just for us Kidz.

    I love my Lord.

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