I used to think the easy thing was to love people and hard thing was to confront them with the truth. Now I feel it’s just the opposite.
It’s easy to place a judgment on someone like a drive-by shooter and roll up your window and speed away. There’s an abundance of this in our day, each of us equipped with our own platform and social profile from which to speak.
It’s a lot harder to spend the hours getting to know someone, filling your heart with the empathy it takes to see their perspective, and truly understanding the complexities of their personality and actions. This is quieter, less heroic, more demanding, scarce.
Of course, confronting with the truth isn’t always easy either. Hard conversations will always be hard. It’s just that sometimes we lie to ourselves—consider ourselves valiant because we’ve expressed our opinion, yet we’re cowards when it comes to laying our lives down.
A final thought on judgment. Stephen Covey said in passing in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:
“My experience has been that there are times to teach and times not to teach. When relationships are strained and the air charged with emotion, an attempt to teach is often perceived as a form of judgment and rejection.”
This is why we are sometimes violently surprised to learn that people have felt judged by us when we were simply trying to help them. The problem is that we didn’t have closeness with them, which is the precondition for sharing truly effective counsel.
He also says in the book that unless you are influenced by a person’s uniqueness, they will not be influenced by your advice.
(I’ve got a review of this book in my head for some future post.)