Last week we thought about how our own filters define our perceptions, how often our own fears hold us back from new thoughts and opportunities. We get a certain impression about a situation, how a negative result may happen, and lose our confidence about trying to make a better consequence by our taking an action. The barrier of fear prevents us in small and significant ways, and as we explored, sometimes negatively impacts our walk as Messianic Jews when we encounter resistance to our belief in Yeshua as the promised Messiah.
Growing from overcoming fear to gaining confidence in our beliefs, to acting with courage about them, reminded me of the famous cowardly lion of The Wizard of Oz:
“What makes a King out of a slave? Courage!
. . .
What makes the elephant charge his tusk, in the misty mist or the dusky dusk? Courage!
. . .
What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage!
. . .
I recently stayed at an Airbnb hosted by a young single father of a toddler. The place was welcoming and he and his girlfriend did everything right to make me feel at home, part of the family. The problem was it was a little too homey – their dog peed in my bedroom, I was unexpectedly surprised when another guest opened the bathroom door without knocking, and I was really unpleasantly surprised arriving “home” one evening to people under a blanket on the living room sofa. I quickly went to my room and stayed there for the night.
I am an Airbnb host too so I know how important reviews are and I know he really tried his best to be a good host. I was sure he needed the extra income and he was not in control of such uncomfortable mishaps. Nevertheless, my job as a guest is to be honest so that other guests can decide if this place is right for them. I decided I just wouldn’t review him at all. I was afraid to say what needed to be said.
The morning of my departure I screwed up my courage and decided to kindly discuss all that had transpired during my stay. I learned that my host had no idea the dog could get in my room so that was a mitzvah to let him know and this will not be a problem to future guests. The person who came into the bathroom unexpectedly rarely is there and now they will make sure he doesn’t visit when other guests are in the house. As for the blanket episode, no excuses, just mortification and apologies. A bad lapse in judgment.
By overcoming my fear which would have led to inaction by not reviewing, I am now able to give the young father kudos where very well deserved – cleanliness, hospitality, accommodations, location, communications – without compromising honesty, both to the next guests as well as to him and with myself. Having the confidence to express my feedback face-to-face required courage to say what needed to be said, resulting in a situation better than the way it was before the conversation. Similarly, by overcoming fear of ridicule by calmly discussing our beliefs as Messianic Jews with mainstream Jews, misunderstandings are dispelled and knowledge is gained. By overcoming the fear of anti-Semitism associated with the topic of Yeshua, those to whom we speak become better able to hear the whisperings of HaShem in the ways He can be heard by each on this very important faith journey.
Having those difficult conversations is never easy. Yet refraining from them due to fear, whether of the other person’s reaction, or even the effect it may have on their perception of us, or of the situation, does not improve the underlying topic of discussion. Whether it is a relationship problem, or one of circumstances such as was my Airbnb encounter, or a conversation about Yeshua, burying the truth only leads to deeper problems and misunderstandings in the future. And often, engaging in difficult conversations, whether the subject matter is menial or Messianic, makes all involved more enlightened people living closer to truths that are anything but menial.