Friday, January 9, 2009

Truth, Honesty and How to NOT mess it all up.

You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
Exodus 20:16

Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, mind and soul. He said the second greatest is to love your neighbor as yourself. And a huge part of loving someone is being honest with them, also being the 9th of the 10 Commandments.

Sometimes being honest is difficult because it is painful. I have been in a few situations like this, one in particular was gigantic in my mind. I hid the truth for a long time, torn between protecting trust but also knowing that the truth should be revealed to someone, somewhere. It involved sin and dishonesty in the leadership of a church. But the reason I held it in confidence was because I loved my friend. So, is it right to share the truth even when it could hurt someone? Or should we conceal the truth in order to spare their feelings? Reputation? Or in this case their job?

This has become one of the biggest questions that I have ever asked.

I had to evaluate my motives. At times my motive was to tell out of selfish ambition, or in the midst of conflict. Ultimately, the truth was "leaked" partially just to prove a point. The relationships began to divide.

There was a motive that was based on love, but it did not always win out. Love would suggest help, love would not destroy.

To communicate honesty in the right spirit to those around us, we must package it with love.
If confronted with a situation that needs the light of truth, I have learned it best to take a moment to pray for the right words, a humble attitude and a loving spirit so I can communicate lovingly and honestly. Because when I do that, when we do that, we will discover that honesty in every situation can help restore and strengthen relationships, and provide opportunities for great personal growth, for all parties.

I wish this lesson had been learned prior to the loss of my friendship. It is still a big question in my mind. The truth in this situation was just that - TRUTH. But it hurt. Some truth is simply difficult. Blatant sin. Abuse. Addiction. Affairs. Lies. Only God can give us enough grace and mercy to make any sense to any of this.

I find myself praying for future situations with this prayer:

Dear Lord, I ask for your help in dealing with areas that need the light of your truth. Help me with the words to say as well as a loving spirit and a humble attitude as I communicate words that will help toward restoration and growth in every relationship I have.
In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.


Gail W. said...

This is really powerful, Liz. When I start toying in my mind with, well, just how much truth DO we have to live by, I am on thin ice. You have given great advice here. Have a good weekend!

Paula (SweetPea) said...

Oh, what a difficult situation you have endured. What a difficult situation any of us could easily find ourselves. Your solution is right on...PRAY FIRST. Allow the Lord to lead our words, action, attitude, timing, and love. We could hope the truth would be received as presented: in love. However, it could be the situations we are speaking truth, the receiver is just not reading to face the truth. Prayerfully, the receivers would eventually come to understand the truth spoken.

Liz said...

Thank you, Paula. Funny, after I posted the blog, I pondered a bit on what I had written...thinking to myself, "Some people just are not willing to hear the truth." I know this was the case - to some degree - here. I was with said friend, when her counselor said these words, "You know, _______, you are in an abusive marriage." And she still didn't get it. She heard it from 4 different counselors, family and friends. The church he pastors didn't want to hear it either...but I witnessed it and know it was true. Hard stuff, lesson learned and my prayer is that eventually God will reveal Himself!