I have a new friend that is increasingly blunt in our work conversations. He is, at all times, a diplomat. His concern is genuine. His intent is honorable. He always finds a sequence of steps that reminds me of the larger picture between us. Before the point is made, I rediscover our shared views and the ties that bind us together. I am reminded how he looks at me. Then, and only then, the point is made; raw, to the point, usually with a recommendation on how we can be better than what we are.
Of all the views in the circle of friends and colleagues we share, I value his. The bluntness does not bother me at all! In fact, I look forward to his candor. By being direct, the big challenges and issues are on the table and available for examination. His words open a door of opportunity to be better than what we are. It is priceless gift wrapped up in context, interests, and care.
As I have reflected on his example, I wonder how far I am willing to take this. Will I be candid to my friends? Am I willing to spend the time to wrap it up in context, interests, and care? I think I could do it with those at a distance, but what about those close to my heart? As I move closer and closer to God and myself, I wonder if I am willing to be blunt at the core?
As I pick up the pieces to the model – context, interests, and care – I find myself wanting to live in my imagination, describing the world in a context of my choosing, not reality. I aspire to have values and priorities that my actions have not matched. Caring is often challenged by self-interest. I want look at myself in the mirror and be David blunt; “And you! Are you indifferent, above it all, leaning back on the cushions of Israel’s praise?” (Psalm 22.3) If so, the real challenge awaits – being blunt with God in context, with care.