My Saturday started early: I was out the door by 8 to fill up Big Bertha and pick up some fellow antique-hunters for a day of picking through vintage and antique stuff in downtown historic Franklin. A drenching rain came midday but didn’t dampen our spirits: a group of nine of us ate, laughed, walked, and talked our way through booth after booth of treasures. I came home with a few pieces of pottery (of course). A second storm hit after dark, bringing us a soaking rain and hopefully not washing away Mr. Official’s newly scattered fescue seed. (He was busy on Saturday too.)
Sunday afternoon, the temperatures climbed back into the mid-80s and I braved the rose thorns and sweat bees to pull weeds in our sprawling front beds. My arms bear witness to my unsuccessful attempts to dodge the thorns, but the beds look better and the scratches and welts will heal.
I also had the opportunity to experience an example of hearing someone fail to speak the truth in love, and it’s made me think about we interact with our fellow humans while we’re here on this earth. Much has been said about the exhortation found in Ephesians 4:15 – and most of it focuses on how we often shy away from confrontation for fear of alienating a friend (or stranger). That is arguably a growing problem – we live in a world that minimizes and ignores the value of truth.
But I think just as problematic is how many people – especially Christians because we are held to a higher standard by the world – are really bad at conveying love when we express our objections or opinions. And so we tend to blurt out tactless comments, and our real message gets lost in the emotion of the delivery.
I do think it’s important to be honest with each other. Even critical from time to time. Just ask athletes – they need someone to tell them what they need to do to improve, and not cushioned with mealy-mouthed platitudes and ego-stroking atta-boys to soften the blow.
And so I’ve spent some time trying to drill down past the emotions I felt and saw, and decide what this person’s true concerns were. Unfortunately, I’m coming up empty-handed. When I peel away all the layers, all I’m left with is unfocused but deep-seated hostility and resentment. I could shrug and tell myself to not take it personally, because I know I’m not the only person to have experienced this type of exchange. However, I’m wondering if I owe it to myself and to them to approach them and tell them how I feel, in the hopes of helping them see a blind spot that is undoubtedly crippling their efforts to win others to Christ. And if nothing else, to establish some personal boundaries to protect myself from future encounters of this unpleasant kind.
Of course, I’m grappling with how to do that and be sure that I am speaking the truth in love.