Can we handle straight talk when it comes from those close to us who have enough courage to confront us about issues and life choices that actually do have an impact on our lives?
A nine-year-old boy asked me if a lot of people read this blog. When I told him the range of low to high, he thought that sounded like a lot. Until my son reminded us all, “Yea, but there’s like seven billion people in the world.”
Ouch. But I laughed. It’s cute when it comes from kids, who really do say the darndest things.
Do we take straight talk so well, however, when it comes from those close to us who have enough courage to confront us about issues and life choices that actually do have an impact on our lives? Not so much.
We want everyone to agree with us all the time because then we can feel good about ourselves. How do you react when your friend (you know, that friend) reminds you that maybe it’s not such a wise idea to commit to someone who does not share your faith? What if they share that—faith issues aside—people who live together before they get married have a higher divorce rate?
Maybe, because they love you, they ask if you have been meeting with other Christians regularly—in church or at Bible study. Sometimes they stop you in the middle of a story and say, “That’s gossip. I really don’t want to hear it.”
Proverbs reminds us that even though straight talk might hurt, “wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses” (27:6).
If given my choice, I prefer kisses. Yet I know that’s not what’s in my best interest. Left to my own devices, without someone to hold me accountable, I’ll easily do what is comfortable and makes me feel good. That’s where your trusted Christian family comes in. They love you and absolutely care about your eternal well-being, they are courageous enough to tell you the truth. If you don’t have somebody like that in your life, find somebody.
And when they are brave enough to speak the truth to you, and when you’re on the receiving end of straight talk, remember, “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid” (Proverbs 12:1).
Ouch. (Frankly, I wasn’t sure if that passage was a little too harsh, but then I remembered that I’m writing about straight talk. So I might as well use a straight talk kind of passage.)