Cosmetic Conversation...


It's disturbing to my soul when I am placed in a conversation where I have no biblical choice but to be disagreeable and as such, the bane of someone's undisturbed existence. I'm such an amiable guy, such a genteel gentleman on most days. The better part of my life isn't intrusive and overbearing, I roll with the punches and allow my conversations and encounters to flow as naturally as they'd like. I try not to impose my agenda on a dialogue, I seek to understand instead of being understood, and I don't speak into something underground unless I'm invited to share in most cases.

But occassionally (and more frequently as of late for some reason) I'm thrown into situations with people where I feel moved by God to declare truth against the better judgement of my flesh. I sense God saying, "Are you going to tell them the truth or flatter them with silence?" I (the carnal me) would rather shut my mouth and let them carry on in the vicious cycle of self-deception that leads to self-destruction. But the voice of the living God pesters me with such annoying importunity, that I have more trouble living with God's conviction than the pending confrontation. Do I want my heart to be sick because I've loved God more than people, or people more than God? And if I really loved people wouldn't it smack of "grace and truth", instead of just grace? The truth hurts...yes...but the truth sets free. And I'm not sure you get freed until or unless you get hurt first...because that's what truth does.

Maybe if more friends were real friends, I wouldn't feel like I'm so alone in my confrontational care of people's souls. "A real friend stabs you in the front." Friends who turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to someone's destructive behaviors aren't friends, they are quite possibly the worst of villans cloaked in sheep's clothing. The most dangerous enemy is the false friend. And though a friend won't continually point out falters and failures, they won't ignore habitual areas of glaring brokeness for the sake of social affability either.

Yet so many help people construct the gallows on which they will eventually hang themselves by simply ingoring the "purple elephant" that is in the room, in the conversation. Maybe they say things like, "Someone more qualified than I needs to address that." or "It's none of my business." or "I've got my own issues...far be it from me to be the one to point that out." But I'm not sure you can have diplomatic discipleship. There are times when subtle peace-keeping only serves to further damn the other person. All of this needs to be done in love and be motivated by endearing, enduring care for the other person's well being, of course. I'm not promoting an unfeeling approach to herding people like sheepdogs constantly nipping at their heels. That's dumb. The danger with a post like this is the demographic of people looking for a green light to go off on people. That couldn't be any further away from what I'm talking about.

I love people so much. And the thing that I hate about that love is that it forces me to speak truth that hurts before it frees. As such, that love feels like hate and then I'm confused and wonder if it would just be easier to just "hate" people in a way that makes you avoid truth and simply "share the love, man". If I don't rise up and hate the part of people that prevents them from being who they really want to be, I don't really love them. If I allow cowardice to govern my encounters with people...I will be everybody's nobody. I will be liked by more people and will, in the end, affect precious little actual soul-change. There will be a changing of the furniture, maybe a change of the scenery...but no change of the heart. And I can be that kind of coward on days when I just don't have it in me to say what needs to be said. I can retreat when I should run toward the roar. I can shrivel and buckle under the pressure to be liked with the best of 'em. I can, often I do, but sometimes I just can't. I just can't watch someone commit social, relational, emotional, or spiritual suidice without intentional intervention. I feel like it borders on inhumane if I watch this self-massacre without moving a muscle. Who wouldn't rush to someone's side if they threatened physical suicide? But when people are killing themselves in other arena's, we stand back with a mix pity and piety. It's mean. It's not nice to do that to someone. Flattering them with silence is just downright wrong.

But I'm tired from having to do this lately. I haven't gotten great results, responses. It hasn't born the most tasty fruit. I've left meetings with a knot in my gut. I've had people walk out of counseling sessions. I've had people shut down and then tell me they've got "alot to do" and they better "get going". It's funny how busy people become when you move beyond the fat down to the vitals. But cosmetics do nothing to remedy cancer. Cosmetic conversations are so much easier than Cancer conversations.

That's all I have to say about that.


braden said…
hey I see no one has responded. I am a little late in reading this one. I appreciate it though. I appreciate those willing to have "cancer conversation"
Teresa said…
I really do like this blog, Jason.

I don't know you personally - but I've been reading your blog for almost a year now - and I love your writings and the things that you've had to say. Thanks for sharing this one... I've been thinking about what to comment about this blog since the day you've written it... so give me more time and then I'll write again. :)
Teresa said…
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