A couple of days ago I was thrilled to be able spend time with one of my closest friends as we are living oceans apart. Obviously we spent our time going down memory lane as well as catching up on happenings in the lapsed times. This of course included giggling, teasing, pigging out, chiding….. the whole works. Nothing like being able to be yourself with a friend who understands you instead of jumping to conclusions based on appearances and making judgments too.
Yes she knows me so well that she knows my weaknesses and she knows my strengths. She knows me pretty well that she steps in when she knows there is potential for my weak points to surface. The best part in all this is that I got to know her when I used to tutor her… Yup a student turned best friend. Like her I have a few more close friends.
In fact, while we were having our girly time, she made a comment saying “your type of guy has always been like this”. It took me aback as it was then I came to the realization that although ‘my type’ on pen and paper was one sort. Her observation made me realize that the guys I was truly drawn to was not quite that!
This is what good friends are all about… Those who are able to see beyond what we say. We all have blind spots in our lives, and we all need one another to speak into our lives but yet not draw conclusions. We will speak the truth in love to those we care about… if we sincerely care about, Yet we will not be driven by the need to always give ‘lectures’ or ‘sermons as we are able to see the positives more than the negatives. Those who flatter or ‘protect’ their loved ones from hurting them are essentially more worried about their relationship with the loved ones so that they may remain ‘loved’.
The featured image depicts the Johari window and I believe is self explanatory. What we see in ourselves and what others see too, is our “public” self. It is our transparent walk. Jesus never pretended… He spoke with love, He showed love when He had to, He rebuked when He had to… He reached out to the sinners and condemned the self righteous religious leaders.
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” – John 8:12
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven – Matthew 5:16
The part of us that others don’t see but we see is the private hidden self. There are various reasons why we with-hold this part to us. Some diagrams even label this aspect of our self as “façade”. Often we intentionally hide certain parts to gain acceptance, to be able to go with the flow thinking that others won’t like or accept us if they saw this side to us. Acting, hypocrisy, façade is not being true… and is embedded in the definition of the word sin in the original dialects. So the next time we are tempted to plaster a fake smile, let’s just think a moment in this light.
However, there are also ‘healthy’ instances where we withhold out of tact or out of wisdom, to protect ourselves from being cheated or abused or to be able to bridge and make relationships with others. Of course there is a fine line, and that is something as Christians we need to be constantly wary of.
And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God. – John 3:19-20
There is a third side to us, the “blind spot”. Allowing others to speak into our lives helps deal with this side of us. How often have you said, “I can’t believe I did that!” Well I have, and it sure helps when loved ones voice their observations or vessels of God prophetically speak into our lives.
On the one side,
Where there is no counsel, the people fall;
But in the multitude of counselors there is safety – Proverbs 11:4
and on the other,
For my enemies speak against me;
And those who lie in wait for my life take counsel together – Psalm 71:10
And in all that we remember,
You will guide me with Your counsel,
And afterward receive me to glory – Psalm 73:24
Of course in every word we hear, we need to test the motives, discern whether it is from God or whether it is a word from God but filtered through the flesh of the vessel.
I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel;
My heart also instructs me in the night seasons – Psalm 16:7
Remember Satan can quote scripture too and he uses silver to deter us from the gold. On the other hand we need to remember, that we are called to walk in the light. We need to keep in mind our hidden spots. David called out to God,
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting – Psalm 139:23-24
And there is the fourth side that us nor others know… God obviously knows us to every minute detail – all 4 sides of us. Yet we need to bear in mind,
For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear – Mark 4:22
Just as much we think of our 4 different sides, we need to love our neighbour in this too… Speaking the truth in love as God leads us is important. However there is a fine line between this and making a judgment. God gives us discernment and wisdom, and we can use that to help build up one another. We need to always remember our words are to build up and never to tear down / pull down. Likewise, making a judgment is when we have already decided in our hearts that what we think is right based on another person’s actions, based on what we merely see instead of being open to give them the benefit of the doubt. Often we judge each other (as much as we perceive what we hear) through our own lenses and our lenses are made up of our personality traits, cultural values, experiences, education etc.
Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly – John 7:24
Judging correctly is to lean on God’s wisdom, discernment and approach with an open mind and with God’s love, willing to ‘hear out’ the other. The Bible clearly tells us,
The Lord does not look at the things people look at.
People look at the outward appearance,
but the Lord looks at the heart – 1 Samuel 16:7