Have you ever met a person who believes that they’ve been given the spiritual gift of bludgeoning people over the head with their “honesty?” Are you such a person?
I've discovered over the years that such people aren’t tuned in to much more than what they “think” their intention is… which is, “just being honest.” It’s almost like a “Get out of jail free” card. They can be as offensive or superior-acting as they want, as long as they follow their remarks with, “Hey, I’m just being honest.” Another favorite is, "I'm just keeping it real." Upon invoking this magical incantation, it seems, they should be absolved from all they've said, regardless of what it was.
You've probably heard the following questions before but I wanted to share them because I have found them quite helpful. These are questions I ask myself before I decide to share my own unsolicited “honesty” with others.
1.) Is it true? Obviously, if you’re going to pass on your thoughts to someone else, you should be communicating the truth. Whether it’s objective truth or even the truth of your opinion, it should be true. Check out this Question and Answer from The Heidelberg Catechism to learn more about this issue of truth-telling. For many folks it seems as though this is the only criterion. However, I believe more than this should be considered.
2.) Is it kind? Are your remarks bearing the fruit of Christian kindness? Are they words that will be a blessing and encouragement to the other person? (I would contend that even if they’re hard words that must be spoken, we can still say them in such a way that it will be clear to them that we have their best interest at heart… and not our personal agenda.)
3.) Is it necessary? Does the person you are “being honest” with need to know you don’t like what they’re wearing, or how they’re raising their children, or how they decorate their house for Christmas? We may desperately want to share our opinions on all those questions and more, but that’s not the same thing as their needing to know it.
As a Christian, truth and honesty should be paramount, but not for the sake of building ourselves up, but for the sake of the other person. If God is not glorified in the transaction of honesty and truth and if the other person does not benefit from the exchange, I wonder if we’re doing much more than self-righteously sharing our opinions for the sake of building up ourselves.
How are you doing with this?
Grace and Truth,