I recently had a conversation with a friend that left me spinning for days, maybe even a week. It never ceases to amaze me the "truth" that others choose to speak in the name of "love". Where there may have been some small nugget of truth (I'm still trying to work through that and decide for myself) the fact of the matter is that the presentation was far from helpful. Although I am certain that the intent was pure and intended to point me in the right direction, the effect that it had ended up causing me to question things that I shouldn't. So for those of you who have the gift of Exhortation, I urge you - despirately - to use caution when attempting to spread your "love". When speaking to those who are much more sensitive than yourself you may end up doing more damage than good. If you don't have all the facts, refrain from speaking until you do. When digging for informtion, don't assume you have the full picture.
I have always struggled with being able to clearly articulate how I feel about a matter. Frankly it hasn't gotten any easier in my 30+ years, I've simply decided that it's something that is worth working on. But there are those who have similar issues to me who don't feel comfortable or safe even attempting to share their feelings. It is so much easier to just crawl in a hole and attempt to disappear. Is that helpful? No. Does it solve anything? No. But it is a gut reaction to those of us who have a hard time connecting feelings with words, and clearly communicating them.
Do I need to work on being able to clearly communicate my thoughts and feelings? Absolutely. Do I need to work on being able to speak up for myself in the moment when someone is off course. Definitely. But I would also encourage those of you who feel it necessary to chastize others to think twice about what is going to come out. Is it necessary? Is it true? And are you offering helpful advice, or just spewing your opintion?
It's always difficult for me to swallow situations like this, mostly because I just can't identify with them - At. All. The concept is so foreign to me that anyone would feel the need to correct someone in this fashion, I simply cannot identify with why anyone would feel the need to tear another person down. But I recognize that simply because I see it this way does not mean that they see it the same way. In the same way that I recognize others may not see things the way I do, I would hope that others can recognize that the way they feel about a matter may not be the same as their recipient. Above all, when in doubt speak in love. I don't mean by "lovingly" telling your brother or sister they need to change how they are living or acting. I mean be there for them, be a shoulder or an ear. Tell them you hear them, and that your Father loves them. Let HIM be the one the conviction comes from. HE can and will do these things if we let him. But when others get in the way and feel that - if they don't say it, no one will - it is likely to do more harm than good.
Peace. Love. Grace.
May we wallow in those things.