A good friend sent a handful of us a thoughtful email. He indicated his desire to grow. The email concluded with a list of three to four questions. I stopped at the last question, “Where do you think I need to grow?”
I remember following up with him on this email. He received expected feedback on areas of growth and at other points he noticed blind spots. It took courage to ask that question. Those of us in this exchange felt valued to have a voice in his life. Not only did he receive the feedback, but he put it into practice.
It’s not easy getting the bad news. People can confirm our deepest insecurities or point out a hidden flaw. Yet, when the truth comes to us out of a motivation of love, we can grow and mature. Grace shapes our hearts by hearing the truth rather than denying the problem.
The Apostle Paul says this in Ephesians 4:15, “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become more mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”
Other portions of scripture speak to the fact of exhorting each other in community (Hebrews 3, 6, 10). Part of living in community means learning to process the feedback. We learn to cherish the difficult critiques from brothers and sisters. Somewhere in the tough conversations, the Holy Spirit might speak to an area of our lives.
My friend’s email took the truth a step further. Rather than waiting for people to come to him, he gave them the permission to speak freely. When we give permission to people to speak in our lives, we communicate the value of their friendship. We invite them into our growth process and create the space for authenticity.
Experiencing grace and growth in our lives often means receiving the truth. The people closest to us might shine a light into a dark area of our lives. Instead of waiting for them to come to us, we can invite them to speak freely in our lives.
Who will you give the permission to speak freely in your life today?