Credibility

04Jan09

I don’t readily trust nice, polite people. I know myself well-enough to be aware of my many flaws. If someone agrees with whatever I say or pays me many compliments, my instinct is to assume that this person is a liar (whether they realize they’re doing it or not) and they have manipulative motivations. I would say that my instinct is generally right, based on my knowledge of my broken self.

I think Christians get love and politeness confused. Jesus was the single most loving person to have walked the planet and he was plenty impolite. Ask the Pharisees. Ask Peter.

The truth is we are imperfect, flawed people. There isn’t anything good about us for which we can claim credit. Anyone who tells you differently is a liar. And based on the fact that people don’t tell me how crappy I am on a regular basis, I have to conclude that I’m surrounded by a lot of liars. The fact that I don’t tell people how crappy they are on a regular basis causes me to conclude that I’m a liar also.

Of course, the opposite isn’t true: just because you’re rude doesn’t make you loving. It’s just impossible to love imperfect people and always tell them stuff that makes them feel better.

The nature of the Truth is that it convicts imperfect people. Our egos–our pride–is/are grounded in lies. The Truth doesn’t appease our prideful natures. We have to die to ourselves, surrender to God, before we can like the Truth. Because the truth stands in opposition to the masks we wear and the inflated images we want people to have of us.

One point of pride for me is my insightfulness. I tend to think that I know a lot more than I really do. And sometimes I arrogantly flex that intellectual muscle to make people think more highly of me. That’s right, I’m an ass. Anyways, I was being bluntly honest with one of my friends in a way that wasn’t loving and served the purpose of cutting them down and building me up (because one of my recent revelations is that the truth is often blunt, as I’m talking about in this post). I was trying to be insightful. She called me out on it and it certainly didn’t serve the notion that I’m an insightful person. It did cater to the fact that I’m an insecure person who believes that I am, in fact, at the center of the universe. Her truthfully calling me out didn’t make me feel good about myself. It convicted me. It made me aware of the reality that I am not the ideal person that I think I am.

This post was written to provide affirmation to loving friends of broken people who know that the truth won’t make their friend happy, but must be said nonetheless. The Bible talks about believers supporting eachother and it recons it to “iron sharpening iron”. When iron sharpens other iron, there is a lot of friction, heat, and conflicting forces. It’s not an easy process–it’s very messy, like nearly every aspect of Christian spirituality. But it’s necessary.

I hope this blesses you in some way. Sincerely.

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