Truth-tellers–the awesome people we have in our lives who tell us like it is, regardless of what we’d like to hear. I really, really appreciate the people in my life who do this. One of my values is to be someone who is open to correction.
It’s hard to be corrected. It hurts and is embarrassing, but I grow because of it. I’ve been thinking about 1 Timothy 4:11-16 where Paul says:
Command and teach these things. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. (NIV–emphasis mine)
I hate when people see my mistakes. It’s really hard for me to be open enough with anyone to admit my flaws, let alone have them point out my flaws. As I was thinking about all that, this passage struck me. If people are seeing Timothy’s progress, that means he wasn’t starting out at the finish line; he wasn’t perfect. Paul is encouraging him to be open enough that the people around them can see his growth.
I wonder what our churches would be like if everyone followed that advice. Would we be more accepting of people’s flaws? Would we be more accepting of our own flaws? Would we be better able to encourage each other and to point out small issues before they become big problems? What else would change?
Have you ever looked at someone else’s life and seen where they bring problems on themselves? My husband and I were just talking about how we need people outside of our family to see the obvious things we could change. Sometimes things look obvious from the outside but are less simple from the inside, but sometimes they really are that simple to fix.
I’m also consistently in awe of people who can put themselves out there like this. Brene Brown talks about how important vulnerability is–that without it we can’t have joy, love, creativity, or innovation. It’s vital to a thriving life. It also takes a lot of courage to live so openly.
Those are the two sides to having truth-tellers in your life: being open about your life and being willing to be corrected.
So how about you? do you have truth-tellers in your life? Are you the kind of person who is open to correction? Are you the kind of person who can be vulnerable enough for people to see your life?