There are many ways to show people that you care for them, but one of the toughest ways for me and many others is caring enough to tell someone something they just don’t want to hear. Not many people like to give others negative feedback. No one wants to tell you that you have a booger hanging out your nose. It’s awkward for you and it’s awkward for them, but everyone is usually way better off knowing the truth. When this happens to me, I always think, “I wonder how many people saw my problem but weren’t brave enough to tell me”.
Sometimes the best way to show someone you love them is by telling them something that no one else will. If I look back at my life, when I have grown and matured is when people that I love have pulled me aside and told me something that no one else wanted to tell me. I always tell the people that are close to me, “I know that you care about me when you give me honest feedback.” I want to be pushed to value others more and be more like Jesus. If I have friends that see me doing something wrong and let me continue down that path, then I need new friends. I am not confident about many things, but I am confident that I am often wrong, and if I am surrounded by a community of people that love and care for me, they will tell me when I am wrong and it will help me become better at whatever I am doing. I think the key for me is that the person comes to me out of love. No matter how much it hurts at first, I am sure that if it is done out of love, I will come around and see their point of view.
All of us should be pursuing friends who speak the truth in love but we ourselves should also be speaking the truth in love to other people. There are so many people going down the wrong path and those that love them either don’t know how to confront them or are too scared to confront them. I am sure you are familiar with the fairy tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. He had not one person around him that could tell him the truth so he ended up walking in a parade naked. That is my worst nightmare, to not have people close enough to me that would jump in front of me and stop me from doing something stupid! It might not be every day that you have an opportunity to give someone some tough feedback, but every day we can encourage others to confront us out of love and bring things to us that we may disagree with.
Let this be a public announcement that if you ever see me do something that is going to lead me down the wrong path, tell me! Even if it is something small like zipping up my zipper, hold me accountable.