“Who are you to tell me what to do?”
“How dare you say that to me?”
“Who do you think you are?”
“You have no right to criticize me.”
“Well what about you?”
Do you remember the fable about the wolf and the sour grapes? The wolf couldn’t get the grapes so he made up a reason to hate them. We would never do that — right? Right.
My heart truly aches for those who never want to hear the hard truth about themselves. I’ve always assumed that people would want to know what’s going wrong in their lives. If you’re driving and you get lost on an unknown road, I would think you want to get right again. But in life we stubbornly refuse the slightest poke on our conscience. We are prideful, foolish, sensitive, self-appointed authorities. The lie is easier.
I would like to be patient; I want to endure with my friend no matter how many alleys she strays in, no matter how much of a mess he has made of himself, no matter how many times they sabotage their own way; but how can I help when help is refused? It’s like approaching a small animal caught in a bear trap, and when I try to release them they only bite my fingers. Can you save an angry animal?
I’m naive enough to think that friends would listen to friends. Not just the happy stuff: the hard stuff, the ugly reality, the mirror in the face. I’m hopeful enough to believe that if I risk my friendship by telling my friend what they don’t want to hear, that they would consider it because they know it might be the truth. Maybe consider it because I actually care about you. Is that so hard to believe? Why get so offended and twisted up? What benefit is it for me to tell you a tough thing? None. I just want to see you better. Can you accept that?
We despise the truth. We’re a generation of wimps that don’t want to be rebuked, admonished, disciplined, straightened out, criticized, analyzed, scrutinized. Make up reasons to hate the other person: Who are you to tell me what to do?. Justify our own reasons: How dare you say that to me? Insult the other person: Who do you think you are? Minimize the friendship and exaggerate the claims: You have no right to criticize me. Turn the mirror back on them: Well what about you? Only the sly wolf can deceive himself to say the grapes are sour, never having tasted them.
As much as I may be a cynic, a skeptic, a pessimist, I still hold onto (too) much hope for the next person. Sometimes we meet the one who wants no help, who hears no counsel, who believes they’re on the right track. There’s nothing more dangerous than a lost person who doesn’t know he’s lost. When they come around, I want to give the extra chance. For the second time. Third time. Fourth time, fifth — how much more? I can’t save a man from a burning building if he refuses to believe the building is burning.
So I pray. With everything we pray. Some are not mature enough to handle the rebuke, much less the truth. Here’s to hoping you’ll get back to your senses, get your mind right, and recognize all the people you have hurt along the way. And what about me? The same here, too.