Proverbs 28:23

ESV Whoever rebukes a man will afterward find more favor than he who flatters with his tongue.
NIV Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favor rather than one who has a flattering tongue.
NASB One who rebukes a person will afterward find more favor Than one who flatters with the tongue.
CSB One who rebukes a person will later find more favor than one who flatters with his tongue.
NLT In the end, people appreciate honest criticism far more than flattery.
KJV He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.

What does Proverbs 28:23 mean?

Genuine "love" means caring for another person's well-being. At times, that means speaking uncomfortable truths in direct, loving ways (Ephesians 4:15). A "reproof" or "rebuke" is a strong action: bold words or a direct confrontation. Those who are wise listen to correction and advice (Proverbs 3:11; 10:17; 15:31) and appreciate the guidance given by a true friend (Proverbs 17:10; 27:5, 6, 17). Telling the truth gains one more respect than a reputation for flattery (Proverbs 19:1; 24:26; 26:24, 28). Falsely reassuring a friend who is doing wrong is not loving (Proverbs 13:24; James 5:20).

In his letter to the Galatians, the apostle Paul explains how to restore a brother who is caught in sin and error. He writes: "Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted" (Galatians 6:1). A major responsibility of a pastor or elder is to reprove and rebuke as necessary (2 Timothy 2:24–26). The church leader whose preaching or counsel is designed simply to make people feel good about themselves is not fulfilling his responsibility. Nor is he truly "loving" others.
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