“You are so judgmental,” she said to him.
I was standing at B-17 in Atlanta, about to board my flight to a speaking engagement and could not help but overhear the conversation between the couple in line behind me.
“I am not judgmental,” he responded. “I am not like that anymore. I am simply telling the truth.”
It was a husband and wife, and as far as I could tell, they were talking about a close relative. As you might imagine, the discussion did not end quickly. Nor did its end satisfy either party. Walking down the boarding tunnel, I imagined myself a game show host, able to jump in, separate the two, and give one of them a new car! The conversation would be over, everyone would be happy, and the subject would never be brought up again. Real life, however, doesn’t seem to be so simple.
Our thinking—how we perceive every little bitty thing and person and word and feeling around us—is amazingly complex. When we take it on (our thinking) all at once, it can overwhelm and intimidate us to freeze in place. Don’t change! Don’t even try to understand! The attempt will only screw up every other part of your life!
You know how it is when you keep trying to turn a book’s page, but your finger continues to turn several pages at once? Are you with me? You know…you have to slow down, pay attention, and catch the edge of one specific page in order to get what you want? Here is an “edge” for you…
First: We often make a change in our minds and hearts that has not yet been physically demonstrated often enough to provide evidence to those around us that the change has indeed occurred. “Persist without exception” as you exhibit new behavior. Know that a slip will send you right back to the starting point in the minds of those around you. If we want to change the hearts and minds of those around us, our own behavior is a key.
Second: Truth is truth. In the summer sun and the winter rain, truth stands alone and unyielding. Truth cannot be characterized as “a matter of opinion” in order that more convenient or profitable options are utilized.
Truth is defined by God—not by you and me. Therefore, one must understand that neither political party nor denomination can define the truth either. Indeed, they can only determine to fiercely adhere to the truth that God has already defined.
A person “declares” what he believes to be the truth with his voice, his actions, or his vote. Some people desire to declare absolute truth…but truth without love will be always be perceived as mean and judgmental. There are others who would rather not discuss a particular subject, for if they did, the fact that it was even being discussed at all might make them appear to be intolerant. Sadly (maybe “devastatingly” would be a better word), both ends of the spectrum miss the target.
Throughout history, our greatest teachers, our greatest mamas and daddies, and our greatest leaders have all found themselves changing and learning, even as they endeavored to do their very best.
During that time, many great parents have faced truth about certain conditions, communicated it to their families, and worked through that hardship to better days. Our greatest teachers—those whose classes were consistently successful—knew that TRUTH did not always equal GOOD NEWS. Therefore, they wisely learned to communicate truth in a way that would be transformational.
Today, our county needs parents, teachers, and leaders who are willing to stand up and speak the truth in love. To whom? Well, to our children, of course. And to other parents. And to other citizens and to our leaders! Any history book will remind you of the reward always offered to those who remain silent or unable to express the truth. In a 1939 election, Germany was fundamentally transformed by deceit. And so it happened that a political party boasting only 8.5 million members hijacked an educated country of 80 million people into horror. They won with 17.3 million votes.
It makes me wonder… If 10% of a country can drag its people into darkness, can’t 10% of us rise up to drag our country into the light?
Yes, truth without love is judgmental. But love without truth is enabling and permissive. So, knowing that the power of influence is in agreement—not in disagreement—we must understand that our great power (for the moment) lies in speaking the truth in love.
I am grateful for the prayers and well wishes of many of you. That said, if you’d like to post this on social media or anywhere else, do so. Please forward it to whomever you think might forward it as well. But time is short; make your comments quickly and get out there! Tell ‘em the truth and do it with love!