Thursday, February 7, 2013

Honest or Not?

As much as I pride myself on being honest, I'm actually quite terrible at it.

I get a lot of comments about how thankful people are for my honesty through this forum, but, if I'm being honest... I don't always feel so honest. I only tell you what I feel comfortable telling you, and the rest is left for me and a few close friends (and, the Lord, obviously...). I think that's probably good though.

Because, as much as I'd like to be straight up honest all the time, there are certain instances where it gets pretty tricky. Like...
  • Telling someone you like them.
  • Telling someone you don't like them. 
  • Telling someone how you've done something that hurts them/might ruin your relationship with them.
  • Telling someone how you've ruined something important of theirs.
  • Telling someone about your sin/junk in your life.
  • Telling someone about how they've hurt you/others.
There are probably more, but those are the ones that immediately come to mind. I have a friend who nannies and recently, in an attempt to jump start her boss's BMW, was faced with a situation where suddenly the cables were inexplicably melting onto both vehicles. Since the cables were too hot, she rushed to grab oven mitts from the kitchen, but by the time she got the cables removed there was a melted hole in the bumper of the BMW. Shoot. Who wants to make that phone call? Because, in that scenario you can't really do anything but tell the truth...but you obviously try to figure out how to tell the the boss in the best way possible (I think she opted to start with, 'Something bad happened...'). 

So there are situations where we are obligated to tell the truth. Sure, we can try to avoid it or get out of it or cover it up... but, it would seem that the truth is always revealed and it's much better to get it out there from the beginning. This is advisable in those instances like the one above...or perhaps in a situation where you've done something to hurt someone/a relationship. As hard and as uncomfortable as it is to be honest in these scenarios, it's always better to live in the freedom of full exposure instead of the fear and darkness of trying to hide, and the guilt that accompanies the secrets. 

Then there are the situations where there's no requirement for honesty, but sometimes it behooves both us and the other person. Sometimes this type of honesty is the most brutal because it typically requires vulnerability. This is probably what I have with you, my reader, on some level. It also comes forward in admitting you like well do you share those feelings when it could possibly mean rejection on the other line? We typically express ourselves in a way that keeps our pride in tact the most, in case the other person doesn't reciprocate. 

This type of honesty is also very prevalent in the way that we confess sin to others. We get really good at glossing over things, or telling only the bare minimum in such a way that people don't feel the need to probe any further. Or, we've mastered the art of telling partial truths. Or the, 'Yeah, we made out.', but we fail to mention that our operating definition of 'make-out' is extremely more inclusive than what our friend things we mean when we say 'make-out'. We walk further and further into sin while being 'honest' with people around us because our honesty is not actually honesty at all. You've know you've done this. I've done this--I'll admit it. 

And then there's the type of honesty that requires confrontation. Not many like this one and so they avoid it as much as possible. You think you'll get over it...but you don't. Even the little things begin to grate on your every nerve and it probably all stems from some giant misunderstanding that you weren't willing to be honest about from the beginning. Or maybe you're trying to tell someone you're just not interested in them romantically. Or maybe you've been hurt. Or maybe you're watching a friend do things that are damaging to them and those around them. Confronting them is hard...but it doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. 

Okay, you get it.
Honesty is important. True honesty, that is (which, by definition, means free of deceit and untruthfulness). 
But it's not just honesty that I want to emphasize (too late?)... but also how to go about being honest. Being honest in a way that honors the other person. Being honest in a way that exudes love, selflessness, gentleness, patience....and the rest of the fruits of the Spirit. Being honest in a way that includes tact and boundaries. 

I don't always know how to do that. 
But I know that I want to remember, no matter the circumstance, that people matter. That they have feelings, that they have hearts (i.e. you don't have to tell someone all the reasons why you don't want to date them...but you do need to tell them that you don't want to). I want to remember that honesty is valuable, and I can only gain from being honest myself...about myself. To have discernment on safe people I can go to in order to be honest with them about my sin and my not exist in a world of half truths. 

I know that I want to live a life where light is brought to the darkness, where I'm not scared or ashamed to tell the truth...because I know that it sets me free. 

Honesty is best.
Even when it's hard, even when it hurts, even when it's risky. 

Go do what you know you have to do. 
Be honest. 

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