He who rebukes a man will afterward find more favor than he who flatters with the tongue. – Proverbs 28:23
It is a trait of all humanity to prefer the “easy way out” of a difficult situation. I don’t know a single person who enjoys pain, even when the outcome is beneficial, and yet, most of us would be willing to go through surgery to achieve greater health.
Why, then, is it so hard to go through relational discomfort to help another person achieve greater spiritual health and character? Could it be that our fear of rejection (self-preservation) is greater than our grief over the destructive tendencies of the unrepentant. We prefer solutions that are less confrontational.
What is needed is the willingness to endure short-term discomfort to achieve long-term results. If the proverb holds true, then when we rebuke (rightly) our favor will ultimately be greater (even if that favor does not come from the person being confronted). To be certain, human relationships are very complicated, but God is the Great Counselor and if we follow His instruction, our confusion will always be less and the outcome more pleasant.
Truth springs from argument among closest friends. – David Hume