Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Open Rebuke is Better...

Ever had a friend that ALWAYS agreed with you?  No matter how much you swayed in your opinion or actions, they were there to lend their support, letting the words you wanted to hear fall from their lips like dripping honey?

I've had a few friends like that, and know a few acquaintances who are similar.  However, they don't remain my friends for long.  Not because I don't like what they have to say, on the contrary - their words are soothing, comforting and encouraging - but because flattering words are not what I NEED in  my life.  I need truth, honesty and a little bit of common sense.  

There's a old proverb that speaks this truth much better than I can. Proverbs 26:5-6 - "Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed.  Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful." 

Of course my pride and selfish ambition doesn't agree with this statement.  Who likes open rebuke?  Who likes to be told they're wrong or being stupid?  Nobody I know, especially me.  Just because I don't like it, doesn't mean I don't need it from time to time.  I'd much rather know the truth of a matter than be allowed to walk around in deceit. 

Telling the truth to your friends and family is a sticky mess.  You run the risk of them getting angry with you, even to the point of breaking all communications.  I can't tell you how many times I've gotten angry at my husband, friends or Pastors when they've brought some things to my attention in an open rebuke.  I think for several years I lived in the land of "Tonya, Honey"... which was always the precursor of an oncoming rebuke.  But, I can't express to you how much I appreciate and love my husband, my friends and my Pastors for being honest with me.  Their actions showed me they loved  and cared for me.

Being a writer is no different.  When I put my first novel attempt out for critique, what I received was not what I had expected.  I was waiting on the accolades and tinker-tape parade in celebration of my genius.  Instead I got line edit after line edit of red-marked rebukes.   I chose not to allow the critiques to stop me from doing what I loved most in the world and took a step back from myself and examined my work with a new set of eyes.  I'm a much better writer today because a handful of wonderful people opted to tell me the truth instead of allowing me to embarrass myself in foolish deceit.  Now, no matter how much I like my other writer friends, I return the favor with honesty.  I'm not mean about it, and hopefully give more encouragement than I do rebuke, but I love them enough to tell them the truth.  Remember that it's a show of love the next time a friend offers you a rebuke.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray