I used to think I had a lot to gain if I hid the truth as much as possible if it: hurt people’s feelings, made me look bad, offended someone, was silly, could be perceived as petty, etc.
So I went through a lot of life not telling the truth. I let a lot of hurt fester, I let my pride and ego get bruised, I let hard feelings go unchecked, I let miscommunication and misunderstanding rule, all because the truth was too risky.
I’d like to presently take a stab at interpreting a scripture in a new light: in John 8:31-32, Jesus says, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
What if the truth that I come to know through Jesus is that I’m just a human being that’s full of crap and that I have a tendency to hurt other people, that I have a tendency to misunderstand and to be misunderstood? It makes a lot of sense to me – as I abide in Jesus and His word, I see more and more of myself that’s not like Him, and that truth sets me free to…well, stop trying to be perfect.
Lately more than ever, I’ve come to terms with that.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that sometimes I am really petty. Sometimes I am really prideful. Sometimes I am really sensitive. Sometimes I am really cruel to people. Sometimes I am dishonest.
Does that make it okay? No. Good Lord – I still really, really want to be like Jesus.
But I think that truth makes me drop my defenses.
Honestly, I’m so jaded on not telling the truth anymore.
I’m so tired of the idea that later in life, the truth is going to come out, and I have to deal with it then. Sometimes that’s really silly, petty stuff, sometimes that’s really serious stuff. Here are some examples…
the other day, someone fixed a problem at work that I didn’t think would ever be fixed. We had a tube full of water that wouldn’t drain unless you messed with it and moved it around. People had tried a bunch of different solutions and nothing worked. I swore we’d deal with it forever. One of my co-workers was saying how happy she was that it was fixed, and asked why I wasn’t thrilled about it like she was. “Because it hurts my ego,” I said. “I thought we’d never fix it, and I was proven wrong.” She laughed and gave me a classic “Oh my gosh.”
Petty? Yes. But true.
This one hurt a little more…
The other day, I was trying to get with a friend to hang out. I texted her and asked her what she wanted to do. I suggested we do something “like a proper date” – dinner, bookstore, coffee after. Apparently I was focused on the “like” and she was focused on the “date” – she texted me back, saying how she wasn’t ready to date and she didn’t see our friendship like that. I was simultaneously shocked and offended. I was shocked because I didn’t ask her on a date, I was offended because she thought I would actually ask her out over a text (something I think is pretty shitty.) We argued. We both got our feelings hurt. We were both pretty mad because I thought she was calling me a shitty person via her actions and I thought it was shitty of her to think I was shitty enough to ask a girl out over a text.
And – to be honest – I’m not still fully over that altercation, but I’m really glad that we were both a lot more open up front, since we can get through this now and have full healing later.
Honesty is the best policy – not because it bypasses pain, but because it confronts pain. It causes us to get to the root of our actions, intentions, and perceptions in a hurry. It causes us to come face to face with our humanity, and, in the context of living with Jesus, repent of our sin sooner than later.
I think honesty empowers, honesty births confidence, and honesty solidifies trust.
I’m still trying to get in the habit of it, but I encourage you to try it sometime. Be really honest. Be open. Admit that sometimes you’re full of crap, and see if it’s not helpful to you.