Reflecting on Proverbs 27:5-6, Vaughan Roberts wrote:
If true intimacy is to develop, we must be willing to be honest in talking to our friends not only about our own failings but also, when appropriate, about theirs. Very often it is love for myself and a fear of being badly received, rather than a love for my friend, that holds me back from speaking an uncomfortable truth to him. But if I only praise him and never point out any faults, I am certainly not helping him: ‘Whoever flatters his neighbours is spreading a net for his feet’ (Proverbs 29:5). If our friends are forever telling us how wonderful we are and never pointing out our weaknesses, which they, more than anyone, are in a position to see, they are setting a trap for us.
The point is simply that there must be some who are able to speak to us about areas in our lives where growth is needed. The more powerful or influential we are, the more likely it is that our failings will remain unmentioned and unaddressed. If we are unable to think of anyone who is prepared to speak to us in this way, we should do something about it. If we are wise, we will understand the value of loving candour:
Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. –Proverbs 27:5-6 (True Friendship, pgs. 58-60)