Honesty is not always the easiest path but it’s usually the most loving path.
Let’s say you have a loved one or friend who is diabetic but they eat crazy stuff every day from pizza to cookies to soda pop without regard for personal health. Is it best for you to treat them to treats containing white flour and sugar every chance you can or to have a talk with them? Of course, you run the risk of hurting feelings or making the person angry but chances are they are going to die sooner than they should. It’s best to try to save the person’s life by being honest. You don’t have to cut the person’s head off with a verbal assault or face slapping rhetoric.
Love doesn’t attack people. You shouldn’t get preachy because this runs most people away. Simply preface your remarks by saying, “I’m your friend. I care about you and your life. I want you to live a long time. However, if you don’t stop eating what you eat all the time you are probably going to shorten your life.” This could pertain to any negative activity or addiction.
Having serious conversations with people is not easy. We are all busy. We aren’t close enough to most people to be this direct. Plus, we really have to care a lot about someone to be lovingly honest. We run the risk of the friendship becoming strained or evenly totally severed. The bottom line is do you care enough to be honest? Plus, don’t ever start making life recommendations to someone unless you truly love the person and are willing to help the individual work through the issues.
It’s easier to let people continue on their negative path to self-destruction. Fast food and unhealthy food items are unfortunately much more affordable. It’s not cheap to eat healthy. It’s not cheap to be sick either. Medical bills can pile up quickly. Trips to the doctor are expensive. Diabetic medications are expensive. Kidney issues result in death for many Americans every year. Funerals are expensive. Giving up a good friend or family member is life changing.
Disease happens to us all in some way. These bodies are very vulnerable to cancer, diabetes and so on.
Chances are you may have tried. Most likely you have talked your head off to someone you love but they continue in their negative behavior. It seems many people under 50 can’t fathom sickness or death. The consequences of their behavior seem remote or even impossible. Thus they continue on their way.
Of course we all have to look in the mirror. We all wrestle with our private and public demons. Most of us know we aren’t perfect and if we take a serious inventory of our lives and habits we realize we all come away short of perfection, this is especially true of me. I have lots of personal work to do and it’s all I can do to try to do my own daily diagnosis and repair work. This is why we don’t take the time to try to help others; we have enough problems of our own.
Therefore, this is why you have to really care a lot about someone to take the time to try to help the person.
If you had the gift of premonition and could keep someone from being killed in an accident you wouldn’t hesitate to speak with them about it. So, why, if you can help someone address personal issues/addictions that might be deadly, wouldn’t you try? Unfortunately, addictions and mental illnesses are issues that people seem to be afraid to address. If someone you love was inside a burning building, most of us would risk our own lives to rush in and save them.
Why is it so hard to risk hurt feelings to save a life?
Dr. Glenn Mollette is a graduate of numerous schools including Georgetown College, Southern and Lexington Seminaries in Kentucky. He is the author of 13 books. His column is published weekly in over 600 publications in all 50 states. Learn more at www.glennmollette.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of this paper or its ownership.