What The Best Men I Know Say About Telling People Hard Things

Part of loving people well involves telling them the truth, especially when the truth hurts and is something they don't want to hear.

Want to know who your real friends are? Ask yourself who has confronted you on your stuff, asked you hard questions and told you what you don't want to hear. In fact, this one quality more than any other shows you who truly cares for and loves you.

Given that part of loving people well involves telling them the truth, especially when it hurts and is something they don't want to hear, each of us should strive to improve in doing so.

One of the best ways to improve at something is to talk with people who do it really well. And that's exactly what I've done. I sought the wisdom and advice of a few of the best men I know. Men who strike the right balance of sharing the truth in love.

In this process several things popped up over and over again, and that is what I want to share with you today. When something comes up over and over, perk up and listen, it just might change your life

Of all the advice and insight I received as I reached out and spoke with others, humility came up more than any other. In fact, it was the first thing mentioned each and every time.

And that is telling.   

We hear this word all the time, but how often do we contemplate how a humble attitude would impact our lives? If I'm honest with you, I fail the humility test WAY too often. I routinely want things to go my way and get caught up in my own thoughts, opinions and desires. That's why I've found the advice of others to be so helpful.

So what does it look like to walk into a conversation with a humble heart. 

A humble heart is self aware

It takes stock of how it feels, what its thinking and its attitude and posture. It recognizes that anger, frustration and a critical spirit do not produce the righteousness of God and takes steps to deal with its own junk before addressing anyone else's. What's going on inside your heart matters more than the truth you're trying to share. As Scott Kedersha says, "We don't want to be people who say the right thing or do the right thing without our heart guiding us. It's like the Pharisees being white-washed tombs; clean on the outside, messy on the inside." 

A humble heart is kind

It doesn't speak harshly or rudely, but with softness and gentleness of tone. It is calm and collected, not bouncing off the walls. You've heard it said, but it is worth repeating that, it's not what you say but how you say it. Tone matters. It can either be your friend or your greatest hurdle. Jon Flaming captures the difficulties tone can present as he shares, "I could speak God's truth to someone all day long, but if it is not done with humility and kindness that person will never hear it." A humble heart recognizes that sharp and cutting words and actions are counter productive and make it near impossible for the other person to hear the truth in their words. Instead a humble heart seeks to do everything it can to be kind.   

A humble heart is motivated by love

It is genuinely concerned about the other person's well being and good. A humble heart is not looking to score points, win an argument or point out where others are wrong just for sport. No, it hangs in there and has the hard conversation because they are motivated by love. It's cliche, but people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.