What a “Good” Christian has a hard time saying…

“…you truly lack social skills…”


Because somewhere down the line we were told things like, “if you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all”. Then we heard a message about Jesus’ love for the outcasts and the marginalized in society. We attended the “compassion” seminar at last year’s conference where we realized we needed to go find the loneliest of the lonely, invite them to church and become their best friend…that’s what Jesus would do right? Somewhere deep inside we believed that it has to be a sin to say anything that might hurt someone’s feelings, even if it is true.

The error in all of this became clear to me when one of our “hard to love” peeps could not understand why people were keeping them at arm’s length. No one had the heart to tell them, “you are draining everybody dry and yet, they all really love you”. And even if we had found the courage to be honest, they never seemed to take those kinds of conversations well. We did not speak the truth in love, and they did not have ears to hear words that would bring them freedom. So they went on to the next church (and the next church) and continued to be the spiritual and emotional vampire they remain today. My reflection: this is NOT Christian love.

This is what I am wrestling with…somehow, speaking the truth in love has got to get this practical and this honest in the movement of Jesus. The relational outcast needs to have community, but they also need to learn how to live in community. The lonely need families, but also have to learn that love does not place you at the center. The emotionally dependent have to find their security and their strength in Jesus, not in the actions of their friends. I do not know how we get to this place, but I believe that Jesus deserves our efforts to this kind of unity in His Church.

The best thing that was ever said to me (a relationally broken, ridiculously lonely and emotionally dependent person) was, “you lack social skills”. I only wish it had been a Christ-follower who had the guts to tell me that.


  1. Hello Derrick.

    I think this is a very good post, and I agree with you. If someone gives me constructive feedback about something they would like me to change, then I know they don’t think that I am hopeless, and I know they care enough to want me to change. If they just sort of ignore me, then it is more likely that they secretly hope that I would just evaporate from face of the Earth.

    There are different categories of people who lack social skills. The ones who are aware of it can be good, but need frequent feedback & encouragement from other people so they can keep their social map updated (I belong in that category).

    Of the ones who are not aware, there are the ones who can change if they realise they bother people and can do something about it… and there are the ones who can not learn to understand that they don’t understand social boundaries. (mentally ill, aggressive, unsympathetic, smelly; the ones people intuitively turn their backs on)

    I think many (potentially) good people from the first two categories get lost/wasted socially because people around them are too conflict-avoiding to tell them how to navigate the social landscape. However, what to do with people in the last category, that is really hard.

    I think that anyone can change through relationships over long time, because everybody have moments of willingness and ability to change from time to time, brief windows of opportunity – if a trusted person is there to guide them at the right moment and put up with all their s# the rest of the time, then they’ll eventually change. But who want to spend 10-20 years to help a person they don’t even like, and who is a burden on them and their families/communities? I think people subconsciously do a cost-benefit analysis and conclude that there are other projects they’d rather devote themselves on.


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