"Don't beat around the bush. Just spit it out!"
"Get to the point. What are you trying to say?"
"I'm not following you. Can you explain it better?"
Has anyone ever said that to you? Or, are you the person thinking this to yourself as a friend or colleague goes on and on? I admit to both. And both situations can be so frustrating.
I've been guilty of trying to deliver a hard truth cloaked in lots of words meant to temper the blow. I've waxed on about how hard it is to say or what we all sometimes need to hear isn't always what's easy. Blah, blah, blah. When, really, I should just begin with "This isn't easy to say, but I'm going to be truthful with you." Then, speak and be ready for what comes.
In other scenarios, I've squirmed while listening to speakers (mostly ineffective, I might add) talk a blue streak before ever getting down to business. Nothing exasperates me more. It takes a lot of prayer to keep me from loud sighing, facial expressions showing annoyance and excessive leg crossing. "Get on with it!" I want to shout. Patience is not an easy virtue for me. So much time is wasted on speakers who enjoy hearing their own voice.
But, what about the times I need to get to the point and just avoid it? I don't say what needs to be said, period. I don't wrap it in soft cotton or throw it out there in bright sunlight. It just never gets said. What are those hard words and why are they left silent?
I can answer the second part of that question easily. I want people to like me. Who am I kidding? I want them to think I'm the best thing since Steve Jobs created Apple. If I say that, they won't like me at all. May even avoid me or ridicule me to others. And then what?
What are those hard words? Well, they may have to do with truthful answers to "How do I look?" or "Was I wrong to say/do that?" Friends say they want you to be truthful, but are rarely ready to hear it, so we smile and say the polite things to avoid hurt feelings.
But, what I'm ashamed to admit is that most often, the hardest words to say center around the one who gives me the most. He asked his best friends, "Who do you say that I am?"
Today, this verse got me:
But many people believed in Jesus. Even many of the Jewish leaders believed in him, but they were afraid of the Pharisees, so they did not say openly that they believed. They were afraid they would be ordered to stay out of the synagogue. They loved praise from people more than praise from God. - (John 12:42-43)
- Did you see what I put in bold? Ouch. My lesson for today... and everyday. How about you?
For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ.
It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes. (Romans 1:16)
“Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth,
I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.
But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven."
These aren't cloaked at all.
They're straight to the point, yet I'm squirming.
Thank you, Jesus, for being such a loving friend to tell me truth.