We are the most threatened and defensive when people speak truth into our lives.
I learned this today, when I lovingly offered a dissenting opinion to a friend. A friend who was looking for people to verify she should be angry, escalate an issue above a person's head, and be generally hurt over something that had happened to her child.
I offered that, maybe giving another chance (because you really don't know what is going on behind the scenes) might be reasonable. Meeting face-to-face would be in order. At that meeting, discussing the very issues that made her angry would be smart. Volunteering to help would be a nice touch, too.
The response was more anger, this time directed at me. I could read the "How could you be so insensitive?" all over the response. She didn't have to say it; you could read it between the lines.
I propose that this is the very problem we have with people in this world. When we ask for an honest assessment, we really don't want it; we want people to clone our emotions and spit them back out at us, along with a "I'm sorry you are being so violated".
Folks, let's put down our first-world, upper-middle class problems and really dig deep here.
Life is fleeting. It is over in the blink of an eye. Your present circumstances rarely are worth a second thought, much less an entire diatribe determined to help you gain support and fuel your anger to bonfire proportions.
In moments like this, we are EXACTLY where Satan wants us. And THAT is the reason we feel threatened and defensive; we are doing the exact opposite of loving others. When we walk outside the lines of loving other people, no matter how much they screw up or screw us or screw our friends, we have temporarily lost touch with God.
It isn't until the situation has passed that most people realize their error. And, by then, they have often left a trail of destructive behavior that is messy and ugly and needs an industrial-size clean-up.
Trust me. I know.
When life hits you hard, hit your knees. Forget calling your best friend, unless you count your best friends as Jesus. Take it to Him. Lay it at His feet. Ask His opinion. And, when He answers, LISTEN and RESPOND ACCORDINGLY.
People most always (read that again: MOST ALWAYS) are going to try to make you feel better about the error of your ways. They will give you examples of times they faced the same harsh treatment. They will nod their heads and tell you how awful you've been treated. But how you respond to the dissenting opinion in the crowd will often point you in a better direction.
Jesus was a man of controversy. He didn't look to the world to determine how to handle situations (thank goodness!) He often made statements that went against the grain and against human logic (turn the other cheek? really?) If we are to follow Him, we have to lay down our defensive attitudes, our need to be seen as "right", and our desire to have agreement from Earthly sources.
Learn to speak truth to others. Learn to accept truth from others. Learn to learn from everyone in the moment, where they are, faults and opinions hanging out for others to take or leave, and glean what you can without insult.
Mostly, grab Jesus by the hand when you are unsure. Allow Him to calm your fears and nerves and anxieties.
If you do that, your worries will become His.
You will walk in the freedom of knowing your wisdom is not from the world.
And, most of your problems will seem trivial.
Because, in the great big scheme of things, they really, really are.