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Speak Truth Even When It Hurts

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Life is full of lessons; sometimes good, sometimes bad.  What is important is how you react to those lessons, especially when emotions are high.

Recently I learned a lesson that fell on the not-so-good side of the spectrum.  I built up the experience to be something that I thought would be beneficial for me, and though in hindsight it has been, in the moment, it was rather painful.

I learned a lot of things through this experience.  One is to do plenty of research before jumping into something with both feet.  To stick with my gut and know that when something feels wrong, it often is.  And most of all that it’s best to speak truth, even when it hurts.

After running two small businesses for four years and now a blog, I’ve learned that working relationships with others can either bring out the best in them or the absolute worst.  It’s even more of a gamble when expectations are not set ahead of time and when words are misinterpreted through e-mail messages.

Running a business is not the walk in the park that most people think.  Yes, it provides me the opportunity to set my own hours and be my own boss, but there’s an awful lot of stress that comes along with those freedoms.

One thing that I’ve found to be the hardest about running a business is how people react to something you’ve said or done, or not said and not done. And this is especially hard as a Christian business owner.

Because I don’t hide the fact that I am a Christian while doing business, I often find myself in a position where others judge the way that I conduct business, which I like to think is done in a professional and curtious manner.  But in all honesty, I do get frustrated sometimes.  And that sometimes is often when the third email I’ve sent isn’t read fully and I find that I am repeating myself for the umpteenth time.  To that all I can say is, let’s not forget, I.am.human.

But what I don’t get is that people seem to expect Christians (myself included) to be happy all of the time.  That we are to suck it up, button our lip, smile, and act as though nothing is wrong, even when we’re having a bad day, are facing a downright crappy experience, have been met by someone with a chip on their shoulder that thinks it’s okay to throw their negativity right in our face, or find a fellow business owner selling false advertisements of their services.  

When negative experiences occur, some people feel that Christians are not entitled to share opinions of such an experience.  To that I just want to say, “So what? You want me to lie and tell you that everything is peachy keen when you’ve been nothing but rude to me?  To lie to others saying that your half-hearted efforts to provide a service to me was actually top notch? How is that being any more Christian?”

To that I say, “No!”  We’re not called to suck it up and act as though everything is peachy keen.  We’re not to sit back and let people trample all over us and our reputation, just because they feel they have the right to.

And before you start try to crucify me with your comments, hear me out.  

I know full well that we are called to turn the other cheek, yes, but what is often forgotten about that call is the passage that follows stating that we should love our enemies. 

One way I feel that we can love these people who get under our skin and cause such bitterness in our hearts is to follow through with another calling; to point out the faults of our brothers and sisters when they sin, so that they may learn from their mistakes and turn from their ways. 

And the second way that we can love is to forgive those who sin against us, not once, not seven times, but seventy-seven times; even when our hearts may feel hardened towards them.  And we should seek forgiveness for feeling any bitterness or resentment towards them as well.

These callings don’t mean that we are to judge others for their sins.  Rather we are to love them despite their sinful nature, we are to help provide them a way to turn from their sin, and to forgive them even when our heart of hearts says they don’t deserve it.

So if I feel that a working experience was a less-than-savory one, I will write a review to let others know to tread lightly.  But I will sit on the experience in order to let my “humanness” calm down and to ensure that my review will be courteous and professional.

I will not spew hatred or resentment, but speak truth to what I have found in my encounter.  It is not to make the other feel bad or rile them up, but to rather to speak truth, even if it hurts their feelings for a short time, in order to provide a way for them to clearly see where they have gone wrong and in hopes that they will consider improving the way they go about working with others.

I know that if I’ve been a jerk or acting in a manner that is not appropriate, I would hope that someone would call me out on it, so that I may be made aware, I may apologize, and I may correct my behavior so that others may not encounter that side of me again.  I would hope that others would be willing to speak truth even if it hurts me for a short time, to ensure that I don’t hurt others for an even longer time.

Do you write reviews (positive or otherwise) or do you sit on your words so not to offend?

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  1. I don’t necessarily write a review for every bad experience. I think people are more inclined to do so when they have negative experience than when they have a positive one.

    1. I agree, Wanda, I think people have more of a tendency to share their experience if it was negative, rather than positive. Something that I need to be concious of myself! Thanks for reading! 🙂

  2. Gosh totally understand where you are coming from. It’s so easy to get caught up in the fray when you’re running your own business. Speaking truth and love, being real and honest and yet professional is something that I am constantly learning. Thankful to have read I have another friend out there! Found this on Jack of all trades. Love your heart!

    1. Christin it really is a giant balancing act and constant guessing game as to the right approach for each situation, isn’t it? Thankful to know that I’m not alone in these types of encounters! Thanks for visiting and your sweet words. Hope to see you back soon!

  3. I can relate. I’ve found myself noticing my reactions more in the workplace – thinking about how my reactions to frustrations and issues would be perceived if my co-workers knew I wrote a Christian blog. I don’t think being a Christian means we should lower our expectations of co-workers, but I’m working on being more gentle and constructive in my feedback.

    1. Kathryn, being a Christian does provide a nice filter between the words screaming in our heads and the ones we actually utter. It’s hard though to allow that filter to do it’s job sometimes. I agree with your points and think this is something that we should all be more conscious of. Thank you so much for sharing and for stopping by!

  4. I make an effort to write positive reviews when my experience is awesome, because I feel like there are a lot of people who write only about the negative, and often do so unprofessionally. I feel guilty writing negative reviews because I feel bad telling someone that their service/restaurant/whatever wasn’t great… but I realize that others deserve to know that about the business. So while I struggle to put out the negatives to the world, I am like you and do so professionally.

    1. Way to go, Megan! Be the trend setter, hehe! I think if more people actually took the time to write more positive reviews than people who did have a negative experience, would be more apt to choose their words wisely and take their approach in a more professional and reserved manner. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for visiting! Hope to see you back again soon. Blessings!

  5. I’m your neighbor over at Inspire Me Monday (I just discovered this link-up, so I’m a little late to the party this week!). This was an interesting post. My sons have encountered some of the same business issues that you have, and I agree, being a Christian sometimes requires walking a tightrope. I also agree that we don’t have to *swallow* all the bad stuff. As you have said, speaking truth (as a Christian) requires discernment, honesty, good motives, and respect. In all our dealings, we must rely on the Holy Spirit for clear guidance.

    1. Hi neighbor! I really like what you said about speaking truth requires discernment, honest, good motives and respect <--- all great points! It's definitely a difficult task to go about doing, but with God and trusting in His direction, I think it's possible to provide truth in a way that is not degrading and hurtful to those who need to be awoke to reality. Thank you so much for sharing and for visiting! Many blessings to and your sons in their journey!

    1. So very humbling to have you here, Holley! Thank you for taking the time to stop by and to comment. You are such an inspiration and I’m blessed to have the opportunity to link up with you and so many others!

  6. This really made me think. I’m great at the encouraging, but find it extremely difficult to give anything close to negative. I’ll be much more careful in the future to give both where necessary.

    1. Hi Pamela! I’m glad to know that this post made you do a little soul searching. I totally understand where you’re coming from! Heck, my blog’s tag line is all about empowering women, so I really struggled with whether or not to leave a negative review in the first place. But the more that I thought about it, the more I realize that I would be doing a disservice to others that might be looking for the same kind of work and also to the business owner because she has real potential to be successful, but only by a change of heart. It’s a fine line to walk, but with prayer and discernment from the Holy Spirit in each situation, it is easier to tread. Thanks for visiting!

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