I’m currently reading a pre-release of Rick Lawrence’s book Shrewd. In it, he recounts a story of a small group that he was once a part of. Rick describes the leader of this group, “When we responded with polite and fearful silence to another man’s story, he’d unleash a rocket-launcher diatribe about our passivity and disrespect–our refusal to engage was, bluntly, ‘cowardice’.” Once when the man was leaving Rick’s home (where the group met) Rick made an offhand comment and complaint about something his wife had done. Rick writes, “He turned, opening his bazooka face to me, and said, ‘I know…your wife’s a b*****, isn’t she?” Rick responded, “No, no, no, of course not. I didn’t mean it that way.” The reply? “No, I understand–she’s a b*****. Why don’t you come out and say it?”
Stunned, Rick went on a walk to process. He came to the conclusion that the leader had simply responded with the “taste of the casual condemnation of his wife.” He had no business disrespecting his wife, and the leader simply called him on it. In short, the man was shrewd. He knew when, where and how to be bold and bring accountability.
As I read this, I was reminded of a similar experience. Several years ago, I was in an accountability group that dealt specifically with pornography. As we shared where we were at, a friend of mine threw out what I thought in the moment was an incredibly high bar to follow. Because it was specific, and because I was guilty of the very thing that he was calling out, I got angry. So angry that I got up and walked out. As I drove home, I remember calming down, and coming to the same conclusion as Rick. This was conviction, done righteously and shrewdly. What is the point of meeting with other followers of Christ, if there is no real life change?
Being shrewd might get us into trouble. I’m anxious to see how Rick unpacks this as the book continues.
I do have a copy of the book to give away. Hit me up if you’re interested. I’ll have a random drawing sometime next week.