One of my personality traits that has caused a great deal of grief is my desire to tell the truth and damn the consequences. Now this doesn’t seem like a bad thing. But it can be a terrible thing when folks either don’t want to hear it, or they don’t want me to be the one to tell them.
As I have matured, I have learned that it isn’t the truth that’s the problem. It’s the presentation. I used to tell folks how I felt without any concern for their feelings. My thought was that somebody needs to tell them. Might as well be me.
I also realize that even if you dress the truth up a bit and put softness all over it, it’s still too hard for some folks to take. That’s where discernment comes in. Sometimes a closed mouth is more valuable than unwelcome advice.
The other day I was speaking to a loved one who is quite a bit younger than me, but has that same salty, truth-telling gene. He couldn’t understand why the person he was speaking to was offended when he supposedly “set them straight.”
I had to think a minute before I responded.
Here’s what I told him, and what I tell myself now.
If you are telling someone the truth out of arrogance because you assume you are right and they should know better, keep your mouth shut.
See, we all have truths that we know but keep hidden. And even though we are born whole, we are fractured by the world. Truths told in love mend us. Truths told out of the order of time deepens the fracture.
If you are telling someone the truth out of love, then the Holy Spirit will open a door for you to speak with them. They’ll be ready to receive it, and you’ll be humbled by the experience.