Saturday, April 4, 2009

Café Chat April 4th

Today's topic:

So today, I ask you to share a time when a friend may have wounded you by speaking hard words to you, and even though you were hurt you realized it was the best and most loving thing he/she could have done. (If you can share the specifics that would be great, but if not feel free to use generalities).

The scripture cited is Proverbs 27:6 "Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy." A counterpoint to this is Psalm 55:12-23, which effectively says "If these insults were coming from an enemy I could stand it, but insults coming from my companion, my close friend requires me to trust in the LORD."

I can think of times that the truth came to me in a loving way, and I can think of times the truth came at me in a non-loving way from people who love me. This has me thinking about the importance of being loving and honest in our approach to others and the absolute harm that comes from "feedback" that is delivered in the form of insults.

Sometimes, saying nothing is an insult. As a manager, I learned that as hard as the message is to deliver, if someone needs to hear that something their doing is negatively affecting their ability to succeed it is better to deliver that message with love than to let the behavior go unchecked. I know of a few managers who could not bring themselves to confront an employee. They regularly glossed over feedback and softened criticism. The individual would be left to wonder why they weren't getting ahead, or worse - why they were chosen to be "let go."

I've had friendships that crumbled under the weight of unspoken truths. Is it more loving to lose a friend because you're unwilling to talk through a problem? It depends on the circumstances, surely. A while back I overheard some friends saying something about me that was the truth, but would have been less hurtful if told to me directly. Overhearing the comments stung and turned the truth into insults.

Years ago a friend told me that my negative comments about other people made him wonder what I said about him when he was not around. Boy! did that have an impact? It was immediate. The bad habit was hard to change but my sensitivity went up 1000% and I never once felt insulted or hurt by the truth he shared. To this day I try to be loving in my comments/criticisms and not say anything behind someone's back that I wouldn't say to their face. And, truth be told in love, I'm still working on it.

Praise God! Through Him, all things are possible.


Toknowhim said...

You made a good point... It truly matters the motive behind what our friend is telling us...

Blessings to you Fran...

Anonymous said...

Oh, my. Are you being too soft on me?

I don't have much experience with the formal title of 'manager' but I feel like I have managed lots.

For the time being, communicating loving criticism to my children is ample challenge. Ample.


Nichols said...

It was my sister that told me something I needed to hear - about how when I got mad or sad I made sure everyone around me knew about it. While I thought I was wearing 'my heart on my sleeve' and not unhealthily 'bottling things up', she pointed out that I expected my friends and family to deal with what ever I put out there - that I had NO consideration for how I was affecting them. It was delivered in a calm loving way, and while it may have stung a bit - it did cause me to grow and change. (or at least I'd like to think it did.)

Denise said...

Be blessed sweetie.

you gotta wonder said...

Thank you TKH. I do think intentions matter.

Barbara, we all manage something, eh? My children and husband resist my management efforts. But they certainly give me lots of opportunity to practice. :)

Hi Nichols, Thank you for sharing this great example. I wonder if I'm not using this blog to get rid of some of the negative energy so I can more calmly face the family.

Denise, thank you for the much needed blessing.

dallasdiva said...

Without my big sister and bff reining me in and reminding me (often of what I already know) of right, I would run amok! Certainly, we can tell when people are sincerely trying to help us vs just being mean or unkind.