Life is beautiful and imperfect, a source of wonder and a challenge so complex that it’s good to pause from time to time and check our perspective and priorities against eternal truth. Jim Daly’s blog, Daly Focus, is full of daily insight and wisdom that promises to help you navigate today’s culture.
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Comment by Fred:
That's a great story, and a great truth. First of all, you have to care enough to engage a brother or sister in the Lord, then bold enough to take the risk.
Comment by Ty:
The article is very inspiring thanks.
Comment by Jenny:
This is a very uncomfortable and challenginf area in our Christian walk. I think we have to be very careful with this because it is not very hard to see fault in others. As an oversensitive person I find it very easy to find fault in myself as well. There are times when a friend will tell me the truth in love and I appreciate it. There are times when a Christian will come to me with a problem or a sin and I will lovingly re-direct them. Most of the time they know how they are wrong and are looking for someone else to say, "you can overcome this." Often when I recieve critisism th ebest it is when I go to someone with my faults becuase I am looking for accountability.
I have some neighbors who say they are Christians, say they want to go to church, but are living out of wed-lock with one child, and a myriad of other personal issues. We have invited them to church, been their friend by speding time with them, reminded them that God is not pleased with their situation, but recently we have backed down a little. I am still praying for them, but do I need to tell them what they have done is wrong every time I see a sin? They are very worldly, so there is a lot of unsavory attitudes. Of course their are attitudes in my life that I am woking on letting th eLord adjust as well. I think in this case being a Christian example is where we should be, careful to speak as we have opportunities to do so gently. I think I could keep telling them all they are doing wrong, but I do not know if that is right. Sometimes it is hard to find a balance and I am still learning how to do that.
I imagine that in some instances your lifestyle can do the talking, but it is also important to speak up at times as well. I honestly would not mind having someone reprove me in love more often, but honestly I take it much better when I am convicted personally by the Holy Spirit and then can go to a sister for accountability. When someone just corrects me out of the blue it can feel more like judgement than love.
it is a tough balance to find! Holy Spirit help us...we are willing
Comment by Abishag:
Thank you, Jim, for this beautifully written article. My husband and I watched the last 30 minutes of the game, and it was sensational. To see the tears flowing down Bubba's face and then to listen to the announcement of his new baby and wife at home watching. We were virtually in tears. Bubba's face seemed to have such a special glow. And his caddy, was right by his side, building him up. We both said, "He must be a Christian."You are 'right on' in that the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sinfulness. To answer your question, I recently 'corrected' a Christian friend of her bad nature on line with a Christian website. There is still an uneasiness in our communication. Personally, we women are quite emotional, and it's hard to 'dish out' and to 'receive' constructive criticism, shall I say? My best friend is my husband, and when he does correct me, I get offended, yet I pray and often must repent to him, and to the Lord. Proverbs 27:17, AMEN! God bless your ministry!
Comment by Scott:
Jim,I do have a friend that shares my values, and we are blunt and honest with one another. There are no others , except my wife (and I say that joyfuly). In 98% of my confrontations , there is denial, or hostility in the response, as in no longer talking to me, unliking on Facebook , or a challenge to "prove " something. I do believe in the passage of iron sharpening iron. Above these relationships though, must be our own personal walk with Jesus Christ. And this is where the majority of men get off the train. I pray that men will be responsive to the call of accountability and responsiblilty , as God has ordained.
Comment by Brian:
Jim,That is a powerful story of two men who faithfully followed the leading of an awesome God!
When my wife and I were dating, a Christian friend of ours confronted me about the impropriety of our sexual relationship. He said "look man, I see your car there late at night and early the next morning. If you want what is best for her, don't continue in that way." He told me that "if you will have an improper relationship with her before you are married, you will do the same with other women after you are" and that "she is God's daughter and does not deserve to have her character tarnished by your actions." I was mad at first, but when I started to cool off, I realized that this man could have said nothing at all, but for his faithfulness to God and his love for me. I was not saved at the time, but his example was part of the chorus of voices that called me to repentance in my relationship with my future wife and with God. I committed not to engage in an inappropriate relationship with her until we were married and with no one else thereafter. We were married six months later and celebrated our 10 anniversary in October. Then in March, I celebrated my 10th year of walking with the Lord.
I thank God for Joe W. and the other men like him that are not afraid to "speak the truth in love."
Comment by T Patton:
I read recently that truth w/o Love is brutal. But love w/o truth is hypocricy. Delicate balance. I'm probably more brutal than hypocritical.My boss said he wanted to be told the truth, but even though he professed to be Christian he didn't really mean it. When I was fired ( 2nd time in 42 years ) I was surprised that it did not bother me at all. Seems I had been dancing around the truth m and now I felt free!Now I need to sort out those who really don;t want to hear the truth - or maybe they will just have to hear the loving truth anyways.
Comment by Beverly :
As I was criticized and put down so much as a child I find it hard to accept but try to accept it unless given in a degrading manner which my daughter constantly does. It has badly affected our relationship. We need encouragement and praise as well as tactful correction in life. No one is always wrong, and I can end up with that feeling from my family. Although God wants us to do our best He loves us as we are, which is such a comfort. My late husband would always say you can only do your best.
Comment by Lucille:
I tried sharing with a person who I thought was my friend, only to find out that she goes behind my back and tells everything I share with another woman. This woman, in turn, tells the whole assembly, which in turn tells another plymouth brethren assembly. I went to this so-called friend for counsel, and this is how she treated me. And so today, I don't have friends, female or male. I trust none I had in the past.
And my husband never pulled away from his family of origin.
Comment by Edward:
Over the last forty some years in ministry, I have served as caddy and player. By far the most benefitial and encouraging times have been when I've served as caddy. To see the impact and effectiveness of your words being lived out in another is reward in itsself.
Comment by K. P.:
For me, it is my husband. Not an easy task, as I do not take criticism very well. But once he tells me about something I am doing wrong or that my attitude is not right, and I take the time to listen and think about what he has said, most of the time he is right. I also have a younger brother that tells me the truth whether I like it or not. Unfortunately, I do not have any friends that will speak up to me. I am the type of friend that speaks up though. Once I had a friend tell me how she loved this new color of lipstick and she asked me what I thought about it. I asked her "Do you want me to tell you honestly or what you want to hear"? She said "Honestly", so I did and I told her it did not look good on her. She then said, "I thought maybe it didn't look good on me even though I liked the color and I knew that if I asked you, you would tell me the truth". Seriously, everyone needs at least one of these people in their life.
The Lord bless you, Beverly, Yes, I agree, that in my past I was often criticized. Yet when I gave my life to Jesus, I find that only through Him, can I forgive and forget. It's hard being a Christian. It wasn't easy for Jesus, that's for sure. Yet He tells us, "turn the other cheek, go the second mile, love your enemies, bless those that curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who despitefully use you." OUCH!
I also often think of our Lord's words, "I am the vine and you are the branches, if you abide in Me, and my Word abides in you, you will bear much fruit, (and the clencher), 'Apart from Me you can do nothing.' Yes, Jesus loves us all just as we are, yet as Max Lucado has said, "He refuses to leave you that way." Only though and with Him can we live in this fallen world. The Lord bless you. Keep your eyes on Jesus, my friend.
Comment by Cathy C:
Brian, I thought that story was beautifully told, and I thought that friend worded things well. You were wise to consider what he said.
I sort of think the opposite of what Scott said however. He'd said that 98% of people turn away from a challenge. I have almost always had it strengthen relationships, with a positive outcome. I am very reluctant and embarassed to try to initiate that kind of conversation, but if the topic is truly troubling me, or interfering with my thoughts during prayer time, then I do try to be faithful to speak the truth in love. I pray first, and try to consider what role I've had in the situation, and I usually start out talking with the person by trying to appologize for my role in it before I say what's troubling me about their own actions. I try to take Jesus' commands to heart in Matthew 18:15-17, as far as how to go about this - one on one, in private. I've also learned that actual talking is much better than email or letter or FB, because then the person can hear the tone of your voice and how sympathic and loving it is. I also try to make a concious effort to calm myself and make sure that my voice does sound sympathic and loving. I guess the talking part is the "Go" part of the command. I vaguely remember a command from Paul elsewhere to try to restore sinners "gently."
I try to use that model with my own children, as well, when they come to me to tattle. I send them back away to talk with the person instead, and I would say that seems to solve about 90% of their problems. There are times when the youngest truly does not care to respect siblings or their possessions and I do have to step in.
Having said all of that, just yesterday, I came across the "Speak the truth in love" verse in my own private devotions, and I realized how someone's gossip was affecting my ability to share in the Bible study, and even my desire to want to attend (which is bad when you're married to the leader!) When she called that same day with some information about someone else, I tried to tell her as gently as I knew how that I found her breaking confidence troubling. I've very rarely, almost never had someone blow up at me like this lady did. She cried about it and hung up on me. So, I don't know where our friendship stands, or how to heal it, or whether this endangers our Bible study. I really don't know what to do about it, but perhaps God will straighten things out between us.
And to answer the original question, yes, my husband will tell me when something's wrong, and my older children will, as well. I don't mind other people's questions, because I don't particularly think we all have to think alike, and I'm usually glad to be given a chance to say why I acted in a certain way - or even to appologize, if I didn't know something was troubling them.
Comment by S. F.:
The key is to speak the truth "in love". Many people are eager to speak the truth, but the medium is a message, too.
Comment by mary:
great story......makes me wish my sons had a caddy in their lives,they lost their dad five years ago