Here’s one of the big questions, in my personal opinion.
How productive is flaw-finding?
I’m not one to minimize flaws and make flippant the pain of sin. Anything that detracts from real peace is clearly an extremely negative thing. I run from it like a man runs from a ravening lion or a lumbering behemoth in the woods, leaping over underbrush and branches, feeling the nettles and horsetails and settler’s bedstraw clawing for my elbows and ankles. Frequently I run right into it, though, in my attempt to escape sin. Thank God that God isn’t disinterested in my struggle, and strives towards a permanent and perfect disentanglement.
In my personal experiences, flaws and sin don’t bode well for my peace of mind, and it’s also not a positive emotion when I see someone else stumbling towards death, so to speak. Or a culture stumbling towards corruption and utter meltdown.
See, and even here, I feel uncomfortable with a harsh rebuke.
Our culture in America doesn’t like the person who tells other people how to live their life. That archetype is unpopular. I mean, people hated Jeremiah, even though he was speaking the truth. I think it’s a difficult calling to be the bearer of bad news, notwithstanding that it’s essential to have someone deliver the news, so that we don’t die of pneumonia when we could be putting on a jacket and taking the appropriate medicine.
No one drinks cold medicine if they think they don’t have a cold.
I’ve often considered myself a “good cop,” I don’t like conflict and confrontation. When a student tells me how much they enjoy drinking the ‘shine, I clam up and make a dismissive joke about how it’ll kill you before changing the subject. Could you look at me and say, “shit, Ben, you’re letting this kid wreck his life? He’s going to get alcohol poisoning on a dirty couch.” And I might say, yeah, you could say that. I’ve thought about that.
But what if I buckle down and say, “Look, guy, you’re going to ruin your life and be filled with regrets and pains if you keep living this kind of lifestyle.” Redemption is real, but I’d like to spare someone from the breakdown in the first place. From a religious perspective, is rebuke, however loving, going to be just another brick in the wall that’s been graffitied to read “Christians Will Judge You” and provides the foundation for the separation of people and Jesus Christ? Do friends let friends guzzle moonshine in a messy living room? Maybe I’ve already answered my question: Maybe friends don’t.
I know that, personally, I can take constructive criticism and use it to correct my course. I might be angry about hearing that diagnosis for a day or so, but when I finally come around to the wisdom of some good constructive criticism, I’m grateful for the person who delivered it.
So I wonder if I should hold others to the same standard of being able to take a word of correction now and then. Maybe the devil wears kid gloves.
This is going to be a question that gets wrestled with as I continue to write here.
How beneficial is it to talk about the things that aren’t right?
For those of you who remember the last season of writing on here, I’d like to personally welcome you back to Beethead Media.
Be a friend.
Be a servant.
Peace be with you.