When I was a child I lied all the time for a variety of reasons: to get out of trouble, obviously;to fit in with my peers as I was concerned I didn't belong; to make myself more interesting and a whole lot of others. As the years went by it became second nature to me until I almost stopped noticing myself doing it.
The end to this bad habit came far to late when I was 19 and on retreat. As I presented myself to God, alone in my room, and asked Him what He wanted from me He said " You've got to stop lying Elaine" Total shock! I wasn't thinking about my lying and in fact as I said I wasn't really aware of it, as it had become second nature. This was the most clear dramatic message from God I'd ever had. No audible voice but a very definite awareness in my mind .
Well obviously, If the Almighty God tells you to stop lying you make every effort to obey Him . I became and still am scrupulous in my avoidance of deceit.If as I occasionally did,I failed I felt guilty until I had put it right.
Recently I have been thinking about what honesty actually means and if its always right and good. For instance I don't tell people they're ugly, or that they're hopeless at the job they do. I don't call a spade a shit shovel as they say in Yorkshire. Gentleness and courtesy go a long way to building relationships and trust. I believe you need to earn the right to tell the whole truth in love. When I was a student it was common for members of the christian fellowship to say "In love sister ......." I you knew that what followed would not be pleasant Honesty should never be used as an excuse to have a go at someone you don't like or who irritates you.
I once lived with someone who was very difficult to live with. I had asked for prayer about this from my vicar and his wife. Now the vicar had a terrible memory and asked my flat mate weeks later if things were better at home and if we were getting on! I was furious ! If I had been honest with him there and then I may have said things I regretted and made everything worse. I waited till I'd calmed down and then went to see him. I asked him if I could trust him in future to be confidential and how he could guarantee that it wouldn't happen again. Those things needed saying but not in anger.Another example of honesty under the right conditions is when a relationship is broken through misunderstanding or hurt. How many times do we just say nothing and the rift gets bigger and bigger until there seems theres no chance of recapturing the bond that once was. Far better to sit down and explain how you're feeling without attacking, and work it out. I have done it many times and it always works . Relationships are more important than pride, being right or losing face.
A completely different aspect to honesty is openness. Not hiding behind an image, not trying to appear what you're not , being true to yourself and believing you're lovable as you are. This is something that might come with maturity as it did in my case . When young I desperately wanted to appear, cool, popular etc, a bit later I wanted to appear spiritual , intelligent and sexy lol I'm sure I failed miserably at both images and suffered stress at the immense struggle to maintain them. Now I'm just me , take it or leave it! I am loved by God and my friends so that's more than enough for me and the freedom is so refreshing!
In conclusion, honesty is a good thing IF used wisely and with discernment . What are your motives for saying things , are they loving and constructive and do they advance Gods kingdom or your own,? This sermon was to me by the way but if you found it interesting that's an added bonus.:)
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