How do we as people, progress and get better at anything? So often, blind to our shortcomings and weak spots, we fail to improve in certain aspects of who we are that really need some renovating. How does confrontation and a little bit of tough love bring out the best in us?

                                    “Faithful are the wounds from a friend; but the kisses from an enemy are deceitful.”

                                                                                              Proverbs 27:6

Kisses from an enemy. Who are our enemies? Are we someone’s enemy?

Aside from the obvious people we have met in our lives – both of you avoid each other like the plague because you mix as well as oil and water – we have to ask ourselves who the enemies in our lives may be. Perhaps it isn’t as black and white as our clear human irritants. We all can be enemies to those around us when we don’t speak the truth.

~ When we chose to withhold information that may not be received well, but even worse speak contrary to truth, we are that enemy to our friends.  

But you don’t understand, Catherine, wouldn’t it be mean or even unloving to say what they need to hear because it might hurt their feelings? They’re fragile, they’re overly sensitive, they’re going through a hard time right now, they’re………. They’re in need of your wisdom, no matter how much they may not want to hear it.

Oh yes, we may very well hurt their feelings. But one thing I love about feelings is, if you don’t feed them the gasoline needed to stay ablaze, they eventually burn out. Our feelings change all the time.

                                        “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked;”

                                                                                  Jeremiah 17:9

Your friend or family member may be hurt by what you said but I promise they will think about it. Well, if they aren’t completely narcissistic, they will, anyway. Those individuals are an entirely different blog post.

                        “Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.”

                                                                                 Proverbs 28:26

If you don’t have anyone in your life who is willing to tell you the truth, or if you push them all away so you can only have yes-men and yes-women in your lives, you will be deceived and walk in foolish ways. You also won’t get better in your personal life.

My husband is fantastic at letting me know where my blind spots are. I love that he will tell me the truth, even when it hurts. Sure, I don’t like how he delivers it sometimes, hearing things that aren’t pleasant about yourself sucks.

~ There is only so many nice ways to say hard things – they are all still going to sting a little.

Sometimes when we are in an argument about how I am behaving or how my intentions are being perceived, I don’t agree with his stance. But give me some time, I will take his grievances and examine them to see where the truth is. I flush the rest as him being wacko and off base – no one can be 100 % right, can they? Okay, maybe sometimes he’s 100 % right – insert eyeroll.

Maybe I am going to tread on some nerves here but when is the last time you allowed the people in your life the space to offer some corrective criticism, *without repercussions*?

If you never have, expect those people you ask to look at you like you have lost your mind and say nothing. Because if you have always swung back with fury upon anything contrary to your feelings and happiness, you most likely will have shut the other person down to where they stuff their feelings and end up resenting you. Sadly, I see this in many marriages at some time or another, some on a permanent level and others grow healthier and happier relationships once they grow up a little.

It’s just like anything isn’t it? If you don’t look at yourself and your flaws, you just won’t grow. That isn’t good for you or anyone around you.

Let’s talk about confrontation for a minute. I’m going to vent here for a second because I am a person who won’t shy away from confrontation so the others out there notice and say things like, “Oh you like confrontation.” Um, no. What sicko likes saying the hard things all the time because they get joy out of the difficult? Well, maybe there are some but I don’t happen to know them and I definitely am not one of them. But I won’t back down from telling someone the truth even if they don’t want to hear it or even ask me for my thoughts.

I can assume if you bring something up to me, you expect a little conversation, and I would rather speak the truth as gently as possible without glossing over the point. That’s a sticky spot right there.

~ Passive aggressive or sugar-coating kind of speech isn’t helpful or kind.

Think about the most passive aggressive person you know. Do you respect them? No, you don’t. The sugar-coater in your life – respect them? Nope, you don’t respect them either. If you’re honest with yourself, you may very well love them all but you don’t respect them. The passive aggressive person comes off as nasty and you can’t trust what they say because the delivery leaves a bad taste in your mouth towards them. The sugar-coater sure does make you feel good about all the things you think and do no matter if they are healthy and right or self-destructive or otherwise harmful – sometimes those are kisses from an enemy.

Best advice I have – pray and ask the Holy Spirit to be in your speech when you deal with anyone and everyone in each day. When He knows you need and want Him and welcome Him in your speech, He’s there. He will give you the boldness to speak truth in love.

Imagine your child is playing outside while you are inside and cooking dinner. Their ball runs into the street and your child is running full speed to the busy street below. All the people outside and around never speak loudly or run after them to stop them from running into traffic. How tragic could that be? So it is when you watch those you love do things to hurt themselves or others without speaking wisdom into their lives. Sure, they may run into the road anyway but at least you tried to help them.

I’m not saying this is easy, even for me who isn’t afraid of confrontation. We owe it to those around us to wound them just a little for the sake of helping them. Hearing what we want to hear from those who don’t care enough to intervene, those are kisses from our enemies. Wisdom comes from counsel.

 

 

C. King