On the way out of church, a buddy of mine hollered over his shoulder, “That was an alright sermon today, you got most of it right.” As he tried to continue on to the car, I halted him and asked, “what do you mean?” His reply…”well you got 8 of the 9 fruit of the Spirit right, but you kept forgetting ‘Faithfulness.’ I didn’t want to call you out in the middle of the sermon, but thought you should know.”
Then another friend said later that day, “you know, for the most part I like the images you put up during the message, but this week’s sorta sucked.”
And finally, after a pitiful performance during a Monday morning workout, a buddy said, “Wow, you were off your game today—usually you’re a lot stronger than that.”
I will be honest…they were all right. All three of the issues were because of poor preparation and pride on my part. However, it helped me come to realize I appreciate the power of “Truth-Sayers” in my life.
“Truth-Sayers” are invested men in your life who are going to speak boldly and honestly to you. They are not “Drive-by-critics” who spew cynicism at you and then expect you to clean up their mess; nor are they “Fixers” who are going to bombard you with 27 steps to a better you.
They are men who are going to point out your screwups, let you take responsibility for them, and then expect a better performance the next time. So, here is a test for you: 1) Who are the “Truth-Sayers” in your life?
______(Insert Name(s) Here)_______
Did anyone come to mind? If you couldn’t come up with a name but just a face, it does not count. The “curly headed guy two cubicles down” is not going to tell you the truth. My guess is that most of us have learned to avoid this depth of connection. We don’t want to cultivate that sort of honesty with another person. But perhaps you tried to write down your wife’s name. If so, two points:
- Your wife, and family, cannot be your “Truth-Sayer.” Why?
Because they have to live with you.
Recently I met a 69 year-old man who decided that he was still in good enough shape to beat the 39 year-old female trainer he hired in a 100 yard dash. After trying to pull a Seinfeld and jump the gun, he was called back to the start line. Determined, he dug in. Determined, he ignored the advice of his wife and three kids. Determined, he bolted out of the blocks, and then crumbled into a heap 20 yards downfield when his achilles popped. As he hobbles around today, I realized his family couldn’t be his “Truth-Sayers” because they have an unintentional “I told you so” glance that eats further away at him. Just by their mere presence they dig into that wound. “Truth-Sayers” are able to speak the truth and then move on to let you take the ownership.
- Your wife cannot be your “Truth-Sayer.” Why?
Because many of the issues are based around her.
Most marriages know how far to push a discussion before WWIII breaks out; and so while they may know what questions to ask, most of the time our spouses are happy with our pat replies. A Truth-Sayer not only knows what to ask you but is also not willing to let you slide. In fact most of the time they aren’t interested in your excuses but want you to know they are aware of precisely the one pointed question you need to be asked. A wife is looking for contrition; a “Truth-Sayer” wants the truth. Truth-Sayers will:
- …ask you, “What do you really think about that new blonde office manager?”
- …call you at 9:30pm on the office trip to see what you are streaming through the hotel internet.
- …know you really did not have a late meeting but were just futzing around the office waiting until the kids were in bed.
- …challenge you to be man enough to fight for your marriage and humbly walk back through that door.
This is the power of a “Truth-Sayer,” they cut through the bull, look you in the eye and say, “man you really didn’t have your stuff today.” Interestingly, there was one more comment I received on Sunday as folks chatted after the service. A man I respect came up to me and said, “Pastor, that was a great message today, and I would not lie to you if it wasn’t.” And I believed him, just as much as the other men. See, the power of “Truth-Sayer” is they will give it to you both ways. So, I am grateful that I have “Truth-Sayers” in my life, who will respect me enough to tell me when I stumbled, encourage me to keep at it, and trust me to push on.
The way to invite a “Truth-Sayer” into your life is to tell them: “The one question you should be asking me is—-” and then tell the truth.