I love truth. Well, at least most of the time. Sometimes I deceive myself, as we all do at various points in our lives, to avoid facing something that I don’t want to deal with. When I am talking with someone about something, anything, whether it be the price of tea in China or something going on in their lives, I am often compelled to tell them the truth, as I see it, about the subject or situation. This is a good thing in one respect because it seems that I have been given a gift that allows me to “put words on things” in ways others cannot. And it is neat to see how God has used those words to help others with things they are wrestling with. In other ways, my “truth-telling” is not so great. First of all, as I said a few sentences ago, I tell them the truth as I see it. Well……needless to say, the truth as I see it isn’t always the truth. Shocker, I know. As insightful as my words and thoughts may be, I view the world through my culture, my life experiences, my age, my education, and my hurts.
I was talking with a new friend recently about some things that allowed me to see that some of the people in my life were purposefully not givng me their personal opinion on things in order to allow me space to wrestle with the ideas I was telling them. I often wondered why and was frustrated by the fact that it seemed they weren’t responding or dialoging with me. And now I can see that they were loving me each and every time and allowing me to be right where I was with whatevere issue or thought or life experience I was talking about. It’s mind blowing really. I’m not trying to make it seem like I am painting these people perfect, but as I look back, I can see that there were multiple times these folks died to themselves in order to encourage, edify, and validate me just as I was at the time. These people are smart and they have a significant amount of life experience and could have spoken to any of the things I said. But many times, they kept their thoughts to themselves. They held on to them. And I feel as though I have eyes to see ears to hear a different dynamic of relationships with people. And I am humbled really. While there were times I thought I was possibly getting apathy or disinterest, it really wasn’t that at all. It was love.
Today during my lunch break, I read today’s entry in a daily devotional book I have called The One Year Daily Grind. A few of my past posts have been about entries from this book. It’s not your typical devotional and today the woman who wrote it (Sarah Arthur) included a poem that she wrote after getting a ride home from college with an aquaintance and some of her friends. The conversation was mostly about boys and at least one of the girls smoked so Sarah was miserable. Here is the poem:
Jesus, you encountered the cigarette smoke
of your people’s self-destruction
and traveled long distances
as they talked and talked
about themselves and their boyfriends
and their messed up lives.
You didn’t filter their hearts
through the tar
or their words
through the slang or crass language
carefully–full of care–
and through it all,
you heard their hearts crying out
for the grace to somehow stand
in the presence of him who sees all
and hears all
and knows all
and still loves.
Gracious and Loving God, I am humbled at the way You and those You have placed in my life have ministered to me. I am in awe of the deep love that I now see in the actions of those who have sought to encourage and validate me. And I am convicted to be more like that. Please, Lord, now that you have given me eyes to see and ears to hear, help me listen more and speak less. Help me to love people right where they are when I interact with them. Help me to rely on You and Your Holy Spirit to discern when I should speak my thoughts and opinions and when I should die to self. Help me to love purely as Jesus did. Speaking truth as led and saying nothing when You ask me to. Thank you once again for your unmeasureable patience and for listening carefully–and full of care–to the busyness of my heart that was not still before you. And thank you for those you have placed in my life that immitate You in this way. In the name of the One who spoke no words when everyone else would have. Amen.