I generally try to be the kind of guy who will point out such things as sticky-uppy hair or boogers hanging out of people's noses. Why? Because I'm evil and long to embarrass people by pointing out their foibles? Not usually. But I figure that a true friend will tell someone, "Dude, you have a little something in your nose," to reduce the chances of that friend walking around all day with dried mucus hanging on while others get a good laugh at their expense. In reality, I am trying to save them from further embarrassment and ridicule. And I would hope others would do the same for me.
But I think a lot of people won't do this. I think that they think that they are somehow helping that person save face by not letting them know about their boogers or sticky-uppy hair. Or maybe they are worried that if they say something it will somehow damage the relationship by offending the booger-inflicted. Either way, they are doing a big disservice by saying nothing.
I have lots of boogers in my life. Not a lot in my nose, because I'm quite paranoid about hangers-on. But I have plenty of areas in my life that, if someone doesn't point them out, could cause me more problems down the road. So I need booger-pointer-outers in my life to save me from bigger, more harmful consequences. Having these people will do a few things:
It will keep me humble
Let's face it. I'm awesome. You know it, and I know it. If there's one thing I have no space for in my life it's humility. Like the prophet once said, "Oh Lord, it's hard to be humble / When you're perfect in every way."...Without people in my life who have the permission and feel the freedom to point out my foibles and shortcomings, I run the risk of having this exact attitude. As Timothy Keller notes, "We are more flawed and sinful than we ever dared believe..." Without a dose of humility in my life, I might forget this truth. Jesus' example was one of humility, so that is what I aim for.
It will point out my blind spots
I may think I am treating my wife well, but someone looking at us from the outside may see otherwise. I may think I am being attentive to my kids, but someone who knows me and spends time with us may have a different opinion. I may think that how I talk to people doesn't affect them negatively, but someone listening in may hear something else. I may have character flaws in my life that I simply don't see - like a booger in my nose - but that others do. Ignorance in this case is not bliss. I need to know those blind spots so they don't cause me any worse problems. (Side Note: For advice in avoiding blind spots in your car, see this from Car Talk)
It will make me better
In the long run, I want to be better: a better Christian, a better man, a better husband, a better father, a better youth pastor, a better co-worker, a better friend, a better neighbor. Getting better means eliminating the negative stuff in my life. So a friend who points out my metaphoric boogers is only helping me get to the finish line I want to cross because I am alerted to those things that I need to eliminate.
Who, in your life, is someone who can point out your 'boogers'? If you don't have someone, why not?