I don’t recommend reading Ralph Waldo Emerson; there are better people to read out there. But I do like some of his lines:
Thee, dear friend, a brother soothes,
Not with flatteries, but truths,
Which tarnish not, but purify
To light which dims the morning’s eye.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Mister Emerson here reminds me of a couple proverbs of King Solomon:
Better is open rebuke
than hidden love.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend;
profuse are the kisses of an enemy.
Being nice and polite are not wrong in and of themselves, but they are never grounds for obscuring the truth. I am not saying here we should forget about being nice and polite. Rather, there is a more important virtue: love. Nearly two thousand years ago Paul of Tarsus wrote a letter in which he exhorts followers of Jesus to “speak the truth in love.” In a later letter he writes:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
What is true? What is worthy of praise? I know only who is True and who is Worthy of Praise. I sing with David and many others:
Bless YHWH, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Note all quotes in this post are actually translations, except the one by Mister Emerson. The ones from the Bible in this post keep with the wording of what is often called the English Standard, except where I keep the transliteration of the Hebrew name of God in Psalm 103 instead of trying to find an English word.