I’m so glad the doctor told me the bad news. Back in the year 2000, I suffered a traumatic injury during a soccer game. Suspecting broken ribs, the medical staff X-rayed my chest but were surprised to discover that all of my ribs were intact. So they handed me a bag of ice and wished me the best . . . until the doctor came rushing into the room. “Son, you need to call your parents,” he insisted, pointing to the X-ray that showed a small dark blot—my collapsed lung.
I’m grateful he broke the bad news. After surgery and a painful recovery were over, I got back on my feet. These days, the only things left to remind me of that injury are a few scars.
Good churches act a lot like that doctor. “[The pastor] must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it” (Titus 1:9). The best pastors (and churches and Christians) hold so tightly to their Bibles that they can tell you when your faith is healthy and when you need spiritual surgery.
We all would prefer the former, but sometimes we need the latter. So when someone wants to talk seriously about your behavior, your beliefs, or your attitude, please don’t run away. They might just be God’s hands in doing some surgical work on your soul.
When it’s all over and you heal from the sting of the hard conversation, you will thank God for that person’s courage.