The truth will make you free, (but first it will make you miserable.)
None of us likes to be told that we need to change something that we do not believe we need to change. It’s torture, actually, hearing that something we are doing is wrong. The shame can be excruciating.
So . . . imagine that you are a pastor who believes that you are a pretty good preacher only to have your personnel committee tell you that you need to take a preaching class. Ouch.
Imagine that you consider yourself an approachable person who is easy to talk with, but a person you trust shares privately that – actually – there are quite a few folks who find you “too busy” or “too disinterested” or “too sarcastic” or “too cranky” to come to you for pastoral care. Ugh.
Imagine that you see yourself as a strong administrator after many years of professional ministry, but your staff shares that they are frustrated at the ineffectiveness of your administrative duties. Really?
We will not take seriously or believe people we do not trust if/when they bravely share that there is Something we need to alter to improve our skills. We like to believe that we are good at what we do, that we know what we are doing, and that we are aware of our strengths and our growing edges. But what if the truth is that we are not as good as we think we are or we could use some coaching or we overestimate our gifts and minimize our weaknesses? Our congregations suffer – that’s what.
Everybody needs a Nathan – someone whom we trust who can speak the truth to us. Yes, it hurts. But we need to hear it. Our community depends upon it.
Image is David and Nathan by Marc Chagall.