To be honest, means we tell the truth. If we are really honest we tell the truth in everything. In our culture, most of us believe that “honesty is the best policy”. However we also think it’s ok to tell little ‘white lies’ for fear of hurting someone’s feelings. Wait a minute; doesn’t this sound like a contradiction?  I can tell you the truth in certain situations but if it means hurting your feelings I will change what I have to say. So how can we say we’re really honest when we make exceptions for honesty? I believe this is where the contradiction lies.  I don’t think we really stop and think just how full of contradictions our live really are.  One of the 10 Commandments speaks directly to this point. Exodus 20:16 – You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

As believers we are instructed in Ephesians 4:15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.  In reading this passage it does not speak to any type of exception we should be making.

I want to be known as someone who is honest in my speech and that I don’t make exceptions for honesty. I am straight up honest with you. If we hold back in what we want to say to someone how does that benefit the person? I know when I enter into a discussion with someone I am choosing to be honest and hoping they choose to do the same. I seriously would hate to find out they had held back.  If this is the case, perhaps it’s time to have a different conversation with that person and get honest.

Given the nature of your relationship with someone, I think you need to carefully think through your delivery while speaking in all honestly. If the discussion is going to be difficult I would encourage you to prayerfully consider how you are going to best approach the person. Your delivery will be the most important part. This is no easy task, especially when you feel passionate about something. I believe being a real man means you are aware of how you come across to others or how others perceive you.

So what about being honest with yourself? Most of us are our own worst critics. Do you really check yourself and your actions? Are you brutally honest with yourself? I am, I find myself evaluating my thoughts and actions all the time. I am incredibly hard on myself and probably harder than I should be. However, because I have lived a majority of my life not being honest, I feel like this is what I need to do, so I don’t revert back to my old ways. I find myself saying things like – “man you’re an idiot, why did you say that, what were you thinking, couldn’t you have done that better, are you ever going to change, is this really the best you have to give”.

When it comes to my children I have chosen not to perpetuate things that I believe are lies. The Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and if my wife hadn’t done it first I wouldn’t have perpetuated the myth of the Tooth Fairy. Now you can disagree with me on this, that’s fine. I have no problems with it. My philosophy is based on Romans 9:1 – I speak the truth in Christ–I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit. I am purposely truthful with my kids in all areas. I don’t want my kids ever coming to me and saying, you said this was true and now I found out it’s not, what else haven’t you been honest about with me? I want my kids to know that my word is my word and they never have reason to doubt anything I say.

I think it’s absolutely ridiculous for people to throw out classic questions like “Do these pants make my butt look big?” No your butt is big, it’s not the pants. Come on, seriously this is an unfair question and probably the reason little white lies got started. Don’t ask me questions like this is you don’t want my honest opinion and I believe you already know the answer to that question. You don’t really need me to affirm that for you, do you?

Proverbs 12:22 – The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.

Colossians 3:9-10 – Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

I believe that as a mature man you need to recognize what buttons you have that get pushed and what’s going to be your response when those get pushed. Am I going to be able to have a conversation with the person who has pushed my buttons with honesty or am I going to let it pass and make some off-handed comment? I believe approaching the person, sharing how you feel and allowing them to respond are a great way to do this. This allows you both to engage in a real open and honest dialogue. It may take some practice but I have found the more I do this, the easier it gets.  I believe we are responsible for every word that comes out of our mouths and that our words can build up or destroy others. As a mature man I want people who know me, believe beyond a shadow of a doubt I am honest in all that I say and do.

Most of my childhood and early adulthood was spent telling an excessive amount of lies. I gotta say it became very tiresome, lie after lie, covering one lie with another.  At some point someone was going to figure out I was lying and then I was going to be screwed. I never knew what I would do if I got caught, most likely just continue to perpetuate all my lies.  Unfortunately in my case as is usually the case, once people find out how many lies you have told, they aren’t always so forgiving. I have a friend whose life was destroyed by this and he’s sitting in prison. It’s hard having worked together as well as being friends and spending a lot of time together outside of work what were lies and what was the truth.

Being honest means living a life of freedom. As a man I don’t want to be a slave to all the lies. I want the truth to always come out of my mouth. I have found Proverbs to be a great book for gaining a lot of wisdom in how to operate in life.  This passage in Proverbs is a great reminder of what God truly hates – Proverbs 6:16-20 – There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

I have challenged myself to be honest with everyone. I find it’s so easy when someone says, “How’s it going?” to just give a quick response “Fine” or “great”. That’s was always my go to answer for a long time.  Maybe it’s just me, but when I ask that question of folks I really want to know how they are doing. Are things in their life going well or are they falling apart? I genuinely ask that question because I care and I want to know. I believe it’s time to stop and be honest. If I had a bad day, admit it. If I am struggling with something and it’s got me, say it. If I am excited and happy share it. On the other hand, don’t ask the question if you don’t really want to hear my honest answer. A simple hi or hello will be fine. That’s real honesty.

Have you ever been brutally honest with someone? How did that go? Was it well received? How do you rate yourself on complete honest?

Comments
  1. Paul S says:

    Well said Chris. I fully agree with you, but I still love my fictional tales as I read!

  2. j4man says:

    Thoughtful Post! Thanks for the challenge to be totally honest.

  3. Bob Balkcom says:

    I agree with you. Two things. I have been guilty of saying “fine” and “it’s all good” before when the truth is far from that. And while I’m here…I also am guilty of “moving fast,” sometimes to keep from getting pinned down. I’ve tried in recent times to not do that. But as I have I’ve noticed I wasn’t the only one. That brings me to the second thing. Asking someone and really meaning it. Not being “afraid” of the long response or the need to sit down with them – at that time or to schedule another time.

    Being available.
    Showing up.
    Being real.
    Being….honest.

    Thanks!

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