Thursday, May 14, 2009

Rough Edges Can Be Necessary

Every once in a while, someone of my acquaintance has been known to observe that I have a few "rough edges," by which the person usually means that I have a tendency to speak in accordance with what I believe to be true, even if it means saying things which some folks might regard as harsh.

Strange. I always thought that being truthful was a good thing. But some folks just can't handle the unvarnished truth.

Here's the thing: I want to be used by God to make this world a better place. In other words, I want to be a tool in God's toolbox. People who are afraid of speaking the truth may be easy to get along with, but they seldom accomplish much of anything worthwhile.

These days, some folks mean it as an insult when they tell people that they're "tools," but that's obviously not what I'm talking about here. To be a tool in God's toolbox is a wonderful thing. It's an investment in eternity.

What kind of a toolbox would God be likely to have? Well, we know that Jesus was a carpenter. Carpenters use a variety of tools --- tools such as saws, rasps, sanders and so forth. Many of those tools have rough edges, without which they would not function properly. The purpose of those rough edges is to shape the wood and (ironically) to smooth the wood. So rough edges are not necessarily bad. This is as true in the metaphorical sense as it is true in the literal sense.

Please don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying that tact and diplomacy are unimportant. I'm not saying that people are justified, in the name of speaking the truth, in riding roughshod over the feelings of others. Nor am I saying that every conflict should be treated as if it's a major crisis. One must choose one's battles carefully. There are times when it is necessary to make minor compromises in order to stay focused on the issues and battles which really matter the most.

Nevertheless, there are times when having rough edges can be both admirable and necessary, in order to build what God wants to build.

So to those who've accused me of having such edges, I have this to say:


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