Sometimes silence is not golden. Such as those times when we could avoid an embarrassing moment if only someone would have pointed out something about ourselves we weren’t aware of.
A fellow minister I know tells the story of how, on one Sunday morning, he was busily preparing for worship service and greeting people as they arrived at the church campus. Everyone he engaged with were their normal, Sunday-morning-friendly selves, and there was nothing unusual in his interactions with anyone.
Shortly before the start of service, he stepped into a restroom to freshen himself and wash his hands. As he did so, he noticed while gazing into the mirror that an odd, white “ball of fluff” about the size of a dime was brazenly — and obviously — perched atop the front of his jet black hair.
Then it struck him – the unwelcome fluff ball must have been there all morning as he spoke to people, yet no one said a word! No one happened to mention, “Hey, there’s a little fluff of something on your hair.” Instead, everyone let him go through his usual Sunday morning routine with the white fluff stubbornly going along for the ride.
It would not have been embarrassing for someone to have pointed out the hitchhiker atop his head, he would have appreciated that; but he did feel embarrassed having engaged everyone with the ball of fluff present, to his complete lack of awareness.
LACK OF SELF-AWARENESS
Sin is humanity’s great problem, but a wholesale lack of self-awareness (then other awareness) is a leading contributor to the problems and troubles we create for ourselves. We hurtle through life more unconscious of our own selves, and the lives of others, than sharply aware and purposely alert.
That results in many problems and great pain, for ourselves and others, and it directly impacts our leadership. But like my friend’s ball of fluff, we try going through our routines of life mostly unaware that we’re significantly unaware. Unlike my friend and his unwelcome guest, we have someone who steps in and warns us of the need for self-awareness.
That warning comes from the apostle Paul, and it’s found amidst other instruction he provides to Timothy:
“Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you,” 1 Timothy 4:16.
Notice Paul doesn’t limit his guidance to Timothy only to making sure what he teaches is sound, he also tells him, “Keep a close watch on how you live …” In essence, Paul exhorts his young friend to make sure he is adequately self-aware.