When around family and friends, we can easily drop our guard. This is fair enough, to a point. However, feeling entitled to be critical and second guessing people’s motives, is never helpful. It not only poisons the air of family life and slowly erodes a loving atmosphere, but it also produces a certain pride that blinds one to their own faults. All this can happen behind closed doors to our detriment.
I recall once being drawn into a friendship clique whose apparent test of admittance was to see how I would respond to their whining about others we all knew. Having been very impressed by one of those very same people being maligned, I spoke up. I observed that the person in question had struck me as never being negative and always seeing the best in people. I expressed disappointment that the present conversation could ironically present such a contrast and be so unpleasant. When I didn’t get a favourable response, I politely left the room. The relationship was never the same again, yet I was not prepared to be sullied by being party to public criticism. Public because, even amongst friends and family, negative comments are aired that foster disharmony and blind us to the sort of person we might inadvertently be becoming.
Tough call? Maybe. But positive people who can humbly, respectfully but directly say what needs to be said to the right person and then refrain from doing so with others, just enjoy life and relationships so much more. Maybe that’s why Proverbs 19:11 tells us that it is our ‘glory to overlook a fault.’ Seeing this modelled well by others has, a times, been a visible alert to the damage done in so many negative environments normalised in an often morally and relationally unhealthy society.