No More Free Passes, No More Profuse Kisses

I've never been allowed to lose my temper and act irrationally.

Whether it was as a child or an adult, I've had the sense to know that it was unacceptable. No one was going to give me that pass. There were societal expectations and I was to meet them. Getting angry and breaking a phone, for instance, wasn't ever going to be a thing in my life.

 And yet...

There was a beloved family member growing up who was known for his temper. He would get angry, yell, break things, throw things, etc. When he was on a tirade, we knew to avoid him, lest we become mere byproducts of his Sisyphean rage. We were frightened... but we gave him a pass.

 Outside of his bursts, we joked about his temper. "Don't cross him!" his children would say in jest. All would laugh but, surely, I thought, didn't we all know that it wasn't okay? Didn't we all know that his fits of rage were scary? Unnecessary? Inexcusable?

 As I've grown, I have watched this same behavior manifest itself in different ways. We joke with the man in his late thirties about coming in hungover, again. We tease our dear friend who can't seem to stop falling for the guys on Tinder that, once again, end up being deadbeats. The guy who can't seem to hold down a job and keeps moving back in with his parents? Let's buy him a funny shot glass that pokes fun at his chronic inability to grow up.

Proverbs 27:6 says that wounds from a friend can be trusted, but profuse are the kisses of an enemy.

Is that what we are doing? Profusely kissing the guy who can't get his life together? Is it a fear of being the one who has to wound him that keeps us from saying the truth?

I'm not saying we walk around under the banner of, "Truth Teller" ripping apart anyone not meeting out standard but, maybe, just maybe, we could approach our friends in love and tell them what they actually need to hear. Not in jest... but for the good of their souls, their lives.

Perhaps my family member would have done well to have a group of loving men surround him and kindly rebuke him for his angry outbursts. I can assure you it would have served my family well to go through holidays without enduring his expected yet unpredictable rage and tantrums. Yet, instead, we all joked and make up nicknames attributing his anger to something he had no control over, as if it were his hair color or height.

Maybe our lack of confrontation could be ascribed to a fear of how the other person would respond. Specifically with this particular angry family member, it would likely lead to an angry outburst that no one would want to endure. I can understand that. Maybe approaching the friend that cannot hold down a job would ruin the friendship. Maybe.

But, I think, I would rather be the trusted person willing to wound someone I love, rather than the enemy offering copious kisses. We are all more than willing to do that with a toddler straying into a busy street but shy away with the adult child who cannot manage to pay their bills.

Let's be known for truth in love. 1 Corinthians 13:6 says love rejoices with the truth. Ephesians 4:15 says that we grow more into Christlikeness by speaking the truth in love. We don't sacrifice one for the other. Love  is necessary... and so is truth.


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