Who doesn’t want to be successful? Who doesn’t want to have some degree of notoriety, or leave some kind of mark on the world? We all have dreams and aspirations, but I am afraid we have forgotten what it means to be truly successful. We have become a culture of shortcuts. We have become a civilization that has become very un-civil. We see criticism as a bad thing, and as a result, we have devolved into mediocrity and passivism. Instead of holding others accountable and insisting on certain standards, we have opted for “peace through passing the buck”. With whatever excuse is convenient, we substitute placation for peace, and accolades for honesty. Comedian Bill Cosby once said…
“Every success story has a parent who says, ‘over my dead body.’ Every success story has an old person who walks up to you and says, when you’re acting the fool, ‘you know, I worry about you sometimes.'”
Whether wise parental guidance or a healthy mentoring relationship, we are seeing a foundational quality become a top 10 casualty on the endangered species list in our society…
We have confused healthy critique with harsh criticism. We have adults who would rather be pals than parents. We have refused to be honest in our assessments with others because of “how it might be taken.” However, in talking to the Ephesians, Paul discusses the importance and positive consequences of “speaking the truth in love.” So many misunderstandings and deep-seeded, long-term conflicts could be avoided if we would just learn to be honest in the first place. Sometimes the truth is hard to take. However, it does a lot less damage, and heals a whole lot faster than a deception shrouded in kindness that will eventually become unraveled, to the detriment of everyone involved.
Jesus didn’t just speak truth… He IS Truth. Let’s all decide today to follow His example, and operate in a culture of honesty and integrity. As parents, let’s understand that a gentle rebuke now can avoid a tragic lesson later. As friends, lets remember that a mild critique now may sting, but will ultimately become a solid foundation of love and respect. As mentors, let’s believe in the power of wise counsel instead of the illusion created by false hopes.
Just remember… Criticism and honesty don’t have to be negatives when they are done in love.