Truth Bombs from Afar

Okay, so here’s how the story goes. While I was in Turkey we stayed at this fantastic resort. One morning Karen and I went to the gym to work out, so I took off my two rings because soft metal rings and heavy weights don’t mix. You’ll scratch them or bend them. I put both rings in my shaving kit, which I left open on the bathroom counter.

While we were out, someone cleaned our room. When I came back, my cheap silver ring was still there, but my gold wedding band was not.

I assumed the best of people (i.e. that it was not stolen) and that I had somehow misplaced it. We scoured the luggage and the room all week. But we never found it. 

Bottom line…I think my wedding ring was stolen.

So I got back to Edmonton late Monday night and suffered through a few days of jet-lag plus work. Then I had to preach that weekend. It went well, and I felt God had done a good thing through me.

Then this week I got a letter on my desk. It was mailed and addressed to me.  As soon as I saw the envelope, I knew it was suspect. This wasn’t the first time that I had gotten a truth bomb from afar. I had two reasons to be suspicious. First, there was no return address on the envelope. Second, it was hand-written with a very shaky script. My Sherlock-Holmes-like instincts told me that this was going to be some sort of a reprimand from a dear old lady who attends our church.

I said to my assistant, “Think I should open it? I bet you anything that this is not going to be good, that someone is upset about something.” I wracked my brain to try and remember what I might have said during the weekend message that would have rubbed somebody the wrong way. I couldn’t think of anything…unless they were someone really sold out to prosperity gospel theology.

I was tempted to just not open it and shred it. But maybe they had something nice to say. Not everybody who forgets to leave a return address is a unibomber.
Well, my instincts were right. Inside was a copy of the weekend’s bulletin, with a note scribbled on the back of it. Here’s what I read inside…”Why is the pastor not wearing his WEDDING RING? Is he not committed to the wife of his youth? He NEEDS TO SET AN EXAMPLE for the young men in this congregation!” 

A few thoughts raced through my mind:

1. Was the message so boring that she was distracted by my absent wedding ring the whole time? 

2. Am I really so unapproachable that you can’t ask my why I’m not wearing my wedding ring?

3. She’s got really nice handwriting.

I was offended for about one minute (well, maybe two). Then I put the note through the shredder.

This wasn’t the first time I’ve received a truth bomb in the mail and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Here are some of the things I’ve concluded from this experience.

First, no matter who sends you a note or what motivates it, the first thing you should do is ask a couple of questions: “Is there any truth in what this person is saying? Is there anything I can learn from this?” Because even if it’s coming from a dark place, it might be an accurate assessment. I asked these questions and concluded that the note was a tad misguided.

Second, truth bombs from afar are cowardly. If you can’t do it in person, then at least have the courage to sign your name to it so they know who it’s coming from. Signing your name says that you are humble enough to admit that you might be wrong and are willing to be corrected. If you’re not willing to be corrected, why should the person you’re reprimanding be? Scripture actually asks us to reprimand others directly. So if you’re going to reprimand somebody, do it person to person (Matthew 18:15).
(Now, you might think this email is a truth-bomb from afar, but to my defence, I have signed my name to it and neither you nor I know who sent me the letter.  But if it was you, let’s do lunch. I’ll even let you buy!)    😉

Third, you gotta be careful not to judge others (Matthew 7:1). We just don’t know why a guy isn’t wearing his wedding ring. I think someone really smart said something about walking around in another guy’s moccasins. 

Finally, don’t leave your wedding ring lying around in your hotel room.

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