Monday, April 19, 2010

You Want the Truth?

If you had a piece of spinach stuck between your teeth, would you want your friend to tell you?  If you had a piece of toilet paper stuck to the bottom of your shoe would you like someone to point it out to you?

Me too!  So I wonder why we often don't appreciate it when someone in love points out to us other areas of our life that leave us looking like fools.  Jack Nicholson has a famous line in the movie A Few Good Men "You want the truth?  You can't handle the truth".  Sometimes we are scared to face the truth about ourselves.  We would prefer it if people tell us what we want to hear, rather than what we need to hear.

Personally I would much rather receive constructive criticism from someone, than a compliment.  I would hope that if I was conducting myself in such a way that I was drawing negative attention to myself, or was engaged in behaviours that were detrimental to me spiritually, physically or emotionally, that those people who care about me would point it out. 

I emphasize that this is best received when it comes from someone, who I know cares about me, has a relationship with me, and is seeking my best interest.  Even still, I may not always like what I hear, but when I reflect on it, I know that it is intended for my benefit. Proverbs 27:6 says that "wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses."  The enemy referred to here, is the one who sees the spinach in your teeth and says nothing, so that they can get a good laugh at your expense or more accurately the person who tells you what you want to hear, in order to get what they want. Judas appeared to be a friend of Christ but his deceitful, treacherous, kiss literally brought about Jesus death. "Immediately Judas went to Jesus and said, "Hail, Rabbi!" and kissed Him" ~Matthew 26:49

When someone speaks into my life, as painful as it may be to hear, I know that I am to receive the criticism in the way in which it was intended, as helpful and not derogatory hindrance.  I am also responsible to be there for the people I care about in a myriad of supportive and encouraging ways and sometimes that includes rebuke. The verse preceding Proverbs 27:6 reads "Better is open rebuke than hidden love." What good does it do anyone if we simply sit back and watch as the people we care about enter into situations and behaviours that have the potential to destroy them, or at least cripple them.  All this being said, we must remember  that we are not God, He can use us, but ultimately it is His working in the hearts of His children that brings about change. All rebuke is to be given with prayerful consideration, careful instruction, patience and gentleness.  We should love people so much that we encourage them to realign their heart and behaviours with  the image of God, resulting in life and life abundant. 

This I believe to be a true and trustworthy statement worth remembering: True love cares enough to confront.

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