Reassurance Versus Challenge or Sunshine Versus Truth

The cover of June’s Esquire has a picture of Barack Obama and a very well written article inside of it. I am not an Obama xealot and disagree with much of what he believes about the role of government. Charles Pierce though makes one comment which appears on the cover though that is important for everyone to hear and take to heart.

“What we need now is not a leader to assure us of our greatness…but one who will challenge us to reassert it.”

This is absolutely true in politics as well as the rest of life. In American culture we have become so consumer minded that many would prefer to hear our leaders (be they politicians, bosses or pastors) tell us how great we are, how wonderful we are doing or why everything is great.

Proverbs 27:5-6 says that, “Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Thrice sings a song about friendship that says a true friend will stab you in the front.

America is a great nation but it is foolish to think she is infallible. You and I try our best but it would be ridiculous to assume we do not need a reminder every once in a while as to how to do things well. In work, in life, in our world everyone makes mistakes. To think otherwise is unwarranted and dangerous. To view criticism of ourselves, our nation, our churches, our friends as off limits is to open the door to major problems.

Love and respect is an absolute neccesity, but out of that love and respect should flow honesty, even when it is unpleasant and hard; especially when it is unpleasant and hard (who else will do it then?).

Is there someone challenging you or your thinking on a topic right now? Have you shut them down, asked them for reassurance (sunshine) instead of taking what they have to say and growing from it? It is time that the Church, our nation, our families and friends started stabbing each other in the front.