Saturday, January 20, 2007

Saying what we think people want to hear

It is a common belief amoung Westerners in the Arab world that often our hosts do not speak what they really think, but in the interest of hospitality say what they think we want to hear. I've seen it in action here and in conversation, but I find myself reflecting that it is true of Westerners as well.

Do we do it when we tell the preacher "Great sermon!" as we leave the church, when we thought it was a dud? Do we do it when we tell our children that the brownies they made were scrumptious when they were, in fact, little inedible bricks? Do we do it when we tell a friend of another religion that we're really theologically alike?

Where does friendship end if we speak truth as we see it? Is our truth in fact accurate? Does kindness or love require that we temper truth?

Or are we called to listen more than to speak?

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