This is about to get blunt and uncomfortable.
Which coincidentally was the name of my girl band in high school. Here goes:
When I ask you if I’ve done anything to offend you, and you are afraid to tell me “yes,” you are just being unhelpful. I mean, I know you are trying to be sweet and unconfrontational, but the ultimate result isn’t help, it’s harm.
Think about it like this, if I haven’t offended you by my telling you your mistakes or making fun of you, then that just means there’s some other reason that you are treating me with disinterest: like my chronic halitosis, irritable bowel, or poor choice of wardrobe. If you give me no constructive feedback when I literally ask you to give me constructive feedback, then you leave me feeling like Alison, the quirky outcast from The Breakfast Club, just making dandruff snow angels on my desk here.
While I would like to believe, but can’t on the grounds that it’s bad theology, that we should all go around admonishing everyone for every single thing they do wrong, I do believe that admonishment is a helpful tool in the life of the body, and like it or not, we share the same body. Granted, I’m probably the stinky feet while you are the grace-filled neck or fingers, but we are all still a part of the greater church body, and every once in awhile the feet need a good washing, and they can’t get it without some help from those grace-filled fingers.
So please, please, if I ask you if I’ve done anything to offend you, be honest with me. Don’t rip me a new one, but give me a kiss à la Proverbs 24:26, “Whoever gives an honest answer kisses the lips.” We need each other to see the areas in our lives where we are missing the mark, it’s part of doing life together. While 12-step programs rightfully teach us that the first step is admitting you have a problem, sometime there has to be a step before that, and that is that someone else has to admit that you have a problem. I can tell you for sure that I wouldn’t have come through some of the messes I’ve come through without another human being, I’m thinking of you Pastorhoney, who was willing to admit that I had a problem, and while it was hard to hear, after I had some time to stew on it a bit, I realized he was right, and I needed to give up that mess to the Holy Spirit. So, as we walk this thing called faith together, can we just agree that if one of us asks for help, however uncomfortable it might be, that we will be faithful enough to give an honest answer?
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” – Psalm 139: 23-24
If you aren’t sure if I’m talking to you, just try to remember if I’ve ever asked you if I’ve done something to offend you. I’ve offended more than one person I’m sure! So please forgive me, and help a girl out and let me know in a private message, let’s not make a scene. 🙂 And I promise to confess and work on whatever it is that hurt you. Consider me an idiot in need of an intervention.