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Truth Teller or Cheerleader?

March 4, 2013

“The more we learn to allow others to speak the Word to us, to accept humbly and gratefully even severe reproaches and admonitions, the more free and objective will we be in speaking ourselves.”[1]

We are rarely objective about ourselves and we typically dislike others telling us so. Yet Bonhoeffer really is stating the obvious. We must let others who are close to us speak truth to us. These people are in our inner circle, we visit with them often. Often they can tell when things are going amiss or when something is out of control without us speaking a word. These people have earned our trust to be close to us. Yet in the time of truth we discount them because they are saying something painful, something we know but do not want to hear.

Why is it painful? Are trying to hurt us, intentionally inflicting harm through words? This is not the case most likely. Usually it is because they hit a sore spot – a place in your life where they identify something we already knew. They are putting pressure on it in a way that requires us to face the ugly truth and address it. These really are the people we need and want in our lives.

The opposite of these truth tellers are cheerleaders. I am a sports fan. It is odd to watch a blowout game and see the cheerleaders on the losing side smiling and cheering, seemingly oblivious to what is really happening on the field. These cheerleaders are also in our lives. They are telling us how good we are doing, no matter what is going on. These people are not the truth tellers we need.

As you enter this new week, ask yourself who the truth tellers are in your life and thank them. They are entrusted with a difficult and thankless task. Acknowledge them and then ask yourself, ‘Who am I a truth teller for?’ or ‘Am I only a cheerleader?’

[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Life Together. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1954. 106

  1. Jonathan permalink

    Thanks for being my truth teller!

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