“…you truly lack social skills…”
Because somewhere down the line we were told things like, “if you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all”. Then we heard a message about Jesus’ love for the outcasts and the marginalized in society. We attended the “compassion” seminar at last year’s conference where we realized we needed to go find the loneliest of the lonely, invite them to church and become their best friend…that’s what Jesus would do right? Somewhere deep inside we believed that it has to be a sin to say anything that might hurt someone’s feelings, even if it is true.
The error in all of this became clear to me when one of our “hard to love” peeps could not understand why people were keeping them at arm’s length. No one had the heart to tell them, “you are draining everybody dry and yet, they all really love you”. And even if we had found the courage to be honest, they never seemed to take those kinds of conversations well. We did not speak the truth in love, and they did not have ears to hear words that would bring them freedom. So they went on to the next church (and the next church) and continued to be the spiritual and emotional vampire they remain today. My reflection: this is NOT Christian love.
This is what I am wrestling with…somehow, speaking the truth in love has got to get this practical and this honest in the movement of Jesus. The relational outcast needs to have community, but they also need to learn how to live in community. The lonely need families, but also have to learn that love does not place you at the center. The emotionally dependent have to find their security and their strength in Jesus, not in the actions of their friends. I do not know how we get to this place, but I believe that Jesus deserves our efforts to this kind of unity in His Church.
The best thing that was ever said to me (a relationally broken, ridiculously lonely and emotionally dependent person) was, “you lack social skills”. I only wish it had been a Christ-follower who had the guts to tell me that.