I was reading a post from a friend who shared a prickly interaction with someone, this was her comment:
“A little while ago I had a weird confrontation with someone I barely know who called out my armor, and even though this felt like an unhealthy interaction with an inappropriate use of power, this person wasn’t wrong about the guarded, defensive posture of my heart.”
She continued to write about how she took the comment and turned it around to help her do some self-reflection in her life in a positive way, of course, this is a good and mature way to take criticism or attacks and use them for one’s own growth. Everyone needs to learn how to do this to navigate the world as it is, but one issue stuck in my craw and I want to yank on it a bit.
What place do we really need to give to the types of people who “call out your armor” that hardly know us? Is it really some type of gift, to undress someone’s soul? Is real and meaningful life gained through such ways of being with each other?
Confrontational engagements almost always reveal something more about the other person than the one they are exposing. I’ve found that envy and jealousy are often at the root of most encounters. Crafting a life that is deep and nourishing is a work that involves all the roots, fruits & refuse of life. We all need help tending our land but that work should be granted to those who love us but not to those who want to see us fail.
We can all learn from fan or fiend but the education our culture is getting about relationships via the Internet is destructive more than constructive. It’s taught people to handle one another in a manner that’s uncivil, harsh, curt, persnickety and pushy.
People think a comment section or email address is somehow an invitation to a level of interpersonal interaction that used to be the sole gift of time and trust. Instant access isn’t authority. We’ve created a borderless interpersonal existence that Friend or Fiend can invade.
The whole idea is summed up in the phrase “Instant Message”. What a profound assumption it is that anyone thinks they should have 100% access and place to speak whatever and whenever they want. It’s a dangerous illusion that empowers much of the ugliness going on these days.
“You set all the boundaries of the earth.” -Psalm 74:17
This truth extends to our relational lives as well, everyone is a guest and how they use that access determines the level of place they are given.
We need to recapture the art of the slow-cooked life, one that honors the specific elements of purpose, attention, space, limits, levels, amounts, temperatures and time. God has given boundaries for a reason and there is a generous grace in submitting to the limitations of our lives. Let’s return to the place where we invite and respond to invitations in a manner that honors each other and celebrates the gift of relational hospitality.