For some of us, speaking our mind comes quite naturally.
Actually, it comes way too naturally for some of us- if we are honest.
I know this to be true, because I am one of those people. I mean, it certainly depends on the situation or scenario, but I think very quickly, process very quickly in a moment, and sometimes forget to breathe when another person says something that is out of line, or perhaps something I just don’t like or agree with.
This definitely comes with its weaknesses, and it is something I have to really think about at times, but it certainly has its strengths, too.
An acquaintance posted this on Facebook today and it really caught my attention:
When you love someone and bite your tongue, all you get is a mouthful of blood.
This is so true. It doesn’t do anyone any good to avoid speaking up about things.
At least- it shouldn’t. If you are in relationship with another person, and you know you love the person, and you know the person loves you, it is never healthy to live by the “sweep things under the rug” method.
To face conflict and deal with problems should, in theory, make us stronger and bring us closer together- I mean, if we work through something, seeking to understand one another, we should know one another better and be far more capable of loving one another well in the end, right?
The problem is, far too often, when we confront an individual, bearing our heart and soul and seeking to have a better connection with that person, we are met not with heartfelt love and concern from that person, but rather anger and offense.
I’ve never understood this, by the way. I faced it a lot growing up with different people in my life. It looked something like this:
I tell someone that my feelings are hurt about something, explain why I feel that way, and and what may have been better for me… and BOOM! The person is outraged- completely livid at the idea that I could possibly have had my feelings hurt by them. And then I am left to wonder if perhaps the blood in my mouth would have tasted better than the anxiety, guilt, and fear that came with speaking up.
Again, I will never understand this.
If we think we are above hurting someone’s feelings, we have a serious issue- pride.
Neither age, nor gender, nor social status, nor positional authority makes us to be exempt from hurting another person with our words or our actions.
But we are always right, right?
So for a person to tell us that we have hurt them is offensive because of course we never meant to- and that should matter more than what happened or how we came across.
I’ve quoted this before, but one of the senior pastors from our church told me once:
If you run over someone’s foot with your car, it doesn’t matter that it was an accident. If the person is hurt, your intentions take the back seat while you deal with the person’s hurt.
I reached out to a mentor (and perhaps one of my favorite people on this planet) to ask about this very thing.
My question was something like, “Why do you think people get angry and offended if you share with them that they have hurt you in some way?”
Her answer blew me away.
“If I love you and I want to keep our relationship healthy, and you have addressed an issue with me about something, I am then required to confront or change something about myself… And that takes work.”
She explained that it is easier for individuals to avoid talking about issues, because talking about those issues requires us to deal with our part in whatever dysfunction is present in a relationship.
And too many of us are unwilling to admit that we even have a part. We are stuck in our ways, determined that we are right, and unwilling to see another person’s perspective.
It’s sad, honestly. If I love another person, and am committed to relationship with that person, I should want and even desire to know and understand them in such a way that lends me the opportunity to love them better.
And it is not always going to look like we would expect, or play out in the way that we would prefer, but that is the beauty of it if you ask me.
Sometimes loving others is entirely selfless. Sometimes we find ourselves in scenarios where “outdoing one another in showing honor” is no longer a pretty scripture to quote, but one by which we are forced to live and overcome our own selfishness and pride.
What it comes down to is this:
When I refuse to admit my wrongs, I am refusing the chance to love someone better. I am refusing the chance to outdo another in honor, and I am placing a higher value on my own pride and self righteousness than on the heart of another individual.
I am saying, for whatever reason, that I am better.
Humility is a funny thing- we all think we have it, while at the same time we are all justifying our actions and feeding the lie that we are better than others and most certainly never wrong.
The truth is, we are all just a bunch of humans with a bunch of baggage, and we all have issues.
When we can admit our faults, it becomes way easier to love one another in all our equally messy faults.