Are you willing to listen when someone tells you some ugly truth about youself?
I’m not talking about just sitting there and taking it when someone is simply discouraging you, or guilt-tripping you, with a lack of truth.
What I mean is, are you willing to listen when someone has been honestly hurt by you? Are you willing to receive when someone lovingly, maybe quite firmly, points out something negative about your character?
Do your ears shut off when something negative is said about you? Does your heart harden when someone shows you a flaw about yourself?
You know that they are revealing something about you that is rooted in truth.
You know what they are saying is true.
You know you were wrong.
What is your response?
Anger and defense?
Haughtiness and cold silence?
An instant attack on the other person's sins?
Or could it be.....Humility? Perhaps a soft opening of your heart and a willingness to hear how you may have hurt or wronged others? An admittance of the truth of your faults?
This is not an easy one for me. But I have experienced it recently, so it is fresh on my heart.
A few days ago, my husband and I had a difficult conversation. I came prepared to share what was on my heart but the conversation took a turn I hadn’t expected. And it was a necessary turn.
My husband, gently, but firmly, talked to me of a character flaw he has noticed in me. And it's a biggie. And from all the information he knows of me and all that he has been able to observe in our relationship, he logically deducted where this character trait could lead. He talked about how it could affect me as an individual and how it could affect our marriage. He shared this with me in love.
I didn’t like his observations. Or his deductions.
I hated it because what he was saying was true.
And as I was listening, I KNEW it was true.
Ouch. MAJOR ouch.
It hurts to have your eyes opened about yourself. But it is better to know your sin so that you can allow the Lord to heal and change you rather than just getting angry and creating a harder heart within yourself.
I didn’t admit to my husband that night that he was right. I didn’t tell him that I had listened and I was really thinking about his words. I took more of the “haughtiness and cold silence” approach (another character flaw of mine) that evening.
The next day, however, I was able to call him and tell him I was thinking about what he had said. Willingness. Step one.
I started letting my mind admit to myself that he was right. Admittance. Step two. I honestly thought about the examples he gave and I saw a pattern emerging right before the very eyes of my mind. Gosh, he was RIGHT!
Step 3. Confession. I confessed to him that he was right.
But it CAN’T STOP there! What are we going to do about things that are brought to our attention? Do we just sit and think, “Wow, that’s not good. That’s really not good. Bummer.” Or.....do we take steps to heal and to change?
I am now merging into Step 4. Repentance and Healing. This will take the longest because healing takes time and hard work.
This event in my life just happened. Hot off the press. So I'm definitely no expert. I'm just hoping that my heart stays soft. I'm also hoping that it gets a lot softer.
I say I want a humble heart but am I willing to walk with humble actions? I can't have one without the other.
What about you? How do you react when someone tells you something you need, but don't want, to hear?