The Truth is Your Friend
On my recent sabbatical, I found myself watching more television than usual. My favourite show was ‘Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares - USA’. The plot line of this reality TV show is always the same.
A restaurant on the brink of closing calls Gordon Ramsay in for advice and a makeover. It’s immediately obvious why the restaurant is struggling. Their dreadful food and work practices, although having become part of the culture, can be taken back to issues around one key person (usually the owner), or two key people in constant, unforgiven conflict.
Ramsay goes in, tastes the food, tells them it’s awful, at which point they get all defensive, angry and start blaming others. However, Gordon, the viewer, and the non-existent customers know exactly what’s wrong. It’s plain as day. Ramsay states the facts in a simple, direct, and confronting manner. We, the viewer, agree completely.
I kept being reminded of an adage I like to quote: ‘The truth is your friend’. You will get nowhere in denial. You must face the facts, particularly when you don’t like them, as they impact on your behaviour and competency.
I couldn’t help thinking of churches in conflict, where the ‘customers’ stopped coming years ago. They want help, and they can’t work it out, but what they don’t want is the simple, blunt truth. They are in denial, dying or already dead, discrediting the name of Christ. Problem is, churches can survive longer than restaurants in absolute denial, controlled by one or two people, often in conflict.
We must guard our church and maintain unity in the bond of the Spirit.