We recently had a gathering at the house with friends. Both Emily and I really enjoy hosting folks in our home, and we’re constantly looking for excuses to make that happen.
While we were eating, one of our friends shared a story from when she was little. As a little girl, she would plug her ears with her fingers and then say things out loud. She thought that if she couldn’t hear herself, other people couldn’t hear her either. That gave her the freedom to verbalize her thoughts without anyone knowing…but, of course, everyone knew exactly what she was thinking.
She recalled that one time she was sitting at the dinner table with guests. She plugged her ears, and then she said out loud for everyone else to hear: “The man next to me stinks.”
We need people like this in our lives. (Not people that stink, but people who are willing to verbalize what’s obvious.) Many times we’re so afraid of hurting people’s feelings that we let people do some stupid stuff that ends up causing a lot more pain down in the long run.
I’m giving you permission. If you see me doing something stupid, plug your ears with your fingers and say what’s on your mind. I want to hear it. God may be prompting you to share something that he needs me to hear.
Many times because we do what we’ve always done because that’s all we know. Frankly, this is one of the reasons why I really enjoy consulting with churches. I’m the guy that comes in, plugs his ears with his fingers and then says what the church really needs to hear. The crazy thing is churches typically know what I’m going to say, but they’ve just been afraid to verbalize the challenge themselves.
Friends aren’t really friends if all they do is say nice things about us. Real friends are willing to speak the truth in love, and they’re careful to pay attention to that “love” part.
Who do you have in your life that’s willing to plug their ears and say what needs to be said?