“She said, ‘I’m so afraid.’ And I said, ‘why?,’ and she said, ‘Because I’m so profoundly happy. Happiness like this is frightening.’ I asked her why and she said, ‘They only let you be this happy if they’re preparing to take something from you.’”—
Often, the church has a man-made culture of “nice-ness.” You know the adage, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” But confrontation never comes off as nice. Usually, it feels mean and ugly and horribly un-Christian. So we don’t say anything at all.
But this epic lack of confrontation in the church has led to a crippling lack of accountability. And then, dysfunctional people, in the absence of that accountability, are running wild. That situation has led to a case of the lunatics running the asylum, while the doctors wander from place to place, looking for a slightly-less-toxic situation.
When we resist saying the hard thing that people don’t want to hear, it feels like we’re being kind. But that isn’t kindness; it’s weakness. (Understand, I’m pointing the finger at myself, too.)
Actual kindness is what the Bible calls for: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Eph 4:29, NIRV)
Building people up - benefiting them - is actual kindness. But, in many situations, the thing that will build them up, and benefit them, sounds very, very not-nice. Because, we must start by saying, “The way you’re living ain’t working,” on our way to talking about a way to live that would.
Unka Glen in the December BridgeBox Devotional
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“Love is a funny thing. You expect it to be easy. You expect it to be a world of roses and laughs and perfect moments that you find only in movies. You expect him to always say the right thing, and always know exactly how you feel, or exactly how to react to it. You expect him to calm you down when you’re yelling or to chase you when you run away. You expect so much that you feel entirely, and utterly defeated when something doesn’t exactly match up with all your plans. But that’s the thing, love isn’t a plan. It doesn’t have a certain beginning and it certainly has no end or visible finish line to those deeply in it. Love happens, and it is so incredibly messy.”—Definition of Love (Andrew Landon)