Be Honest With Me
When Christ robes us in righteousness there is a change that transforms us from the inside out, but because of sin we constantly struggle to live out the reality of our new life. We are ignorant to what is required behavior in the family, so the Apostle lists seven behaviors that are essential to living the high call of unity in the body.
1. Speak Truth to one another.
2. Don't let the sun go down on your anger.
3. Do an honest days work.
4. Up lifting Words.
5. Don't grieve the Holy Spirit.
6. Let go of bitterness.
7. Be a gracious person.
The first characteristic for unified community living is the ability to speak truth to one another. We are called to have honest discourse. Americans like to believe they are up front and honest, that we are a culture that speaks its mind regardless of the outcome. That attitude has won us the world reputation of being brash and arrogant. But I contend that this is not so. For all our bravado we hold the truth of what we think close to our heart.
When it comes to matters of importance we don't trust people. I have just started attending a community bible study and we were told that in our discussion we can't talk about our own church, politics, or other books we have read. We must stick to the biblical text. The reasoning is that people come from different denominations, political points of view, and theological persuasions. The fear is that we can't be honest with one another without offending. There is a fundamental belief that we are incapable of speaking honestly in love.
But speaking honestly goes deeper then talking politics without biting each other's head off. How often do you answer the following question honestly. "How are you doing today?" The customary answer is, "doing fine." I might be alone in this but most days I don't feel fine. I either don't feel well physically, or I battle with feeling insignificant, or I am frustrated with my lack of spiritual progress. The reason I say I am fine is because I don't trust you or I don't want to impose on you.
If my constant state isn't fine no one wants to be around a perpetual downer. I asked an old friend of mine what he had been up to and last night he texted me his answer. He is a little older then I am, a retired marine, with a devastating disorder that has left him unable to work. He said he couldn't afford his phone bill and groceries. He was speaking honestly. So, you know what I did, nothing. I felt helpless. What could I do living half a country away? His problem seems too big for me to handle, and I did nothing (which I will rectify today). We don't want to impose on people so we lie to them, and for good reason.
Trusting people with our struggles and how we feel open us up to rejection. If my problems persist and no one wants to be around me then they might ostracize me, and the loneliness is worst then my problems. Most people who share their struggles aren't looking for immediate relief. The are looking for someone who will, at least, pray for them and walk with them through their struggles. A great percentage of people in need just want a listening ear, but I won't tell you the truth if I don't trust you.
There are other issues that I won't share because I am afraid you will judge me. If I honestly told you that I struggled with homosexual thoughts or pornographic behavior would you judge me? Would repulsion be your first response? If I told you that I was thinking about divorcing my wife would your first instinct be to lecture me on its sin rather then find out the underlying issues? If your child came to you with his deepest secret would you be shocked or compassionate?
Speaking truth to one another as members of the same body is a two way street. It is important to speak and it is important to listen. We can not serve adequately if we don't know what is going on. We can't minister if there isn't a need. Will you step out and be honest? It is risky. Will you listen and reach out in grace? It is risky. I'm just saying...
Eph 4:25 "Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another."