Asking the Painful Questions
Then the king arose and took his seat . . .2 Samuel 19:8
Recently, I broke a tooth and required a temporary replacement while the permanent fix was being made. As the temporary tooth was discolored and misshapen, I was self-conscious enough that I avoided smiling and apparently I talked funny, trying to hide the tooth.
A good friend stopped by one day, during this time, to chat. He witnessed my bizarre mannerisms and wanted to know what I was up to. He was there through my relapse and missed the signs initially. Now, my strange behavior triggered his concern. Appropriately, he asked if I was returning to my destructive ways.
As I was not, I could laugh, show him my ugly tooth, and be thankful that I had a brother who cared enough to ask the difficult question. I realized, at that moment, how important it is to have such a brother.
David and his military general, Joab, had a complicated relationship that may not have been brotherly, but when David wallowed in mourning over the death of his traitorous son, Joab called him out. Joab told David that he was acting like a fool and demanded that he act like a king. David listened, picked himself up and resumed his throne. The people rallied to King David, but it was Joab who gave him the push that he required.
Having those in our lives who would speak truth to us is necessary, but such relationships do not happen accidentally. If we want such a thing, we must purposefully pursue honesty and accountability with specific individuals. It is not our nature to confess our struggles, as we would much prefer to keep our failures a secret.
I do not need to confess my sins to the entire world, but I do need to have a couple of close brothers with whom I am honest. I need to be humble enough to allow them to ask me the tough questions and in turn, I need to be bold enough to do the same for them. This is accountability and it is what true brothers – or sisters – do for each other.