Last night I threw a huge surprise 40th birthday party for my amazing husband of nearly 2o years. There were around 100 guests in attendance; half were teens from his student ministry and half were friends and church family.
We’ve been blessed to live in several states around this grand country. Because of that I asked some of Dave’s old students, friends, collegues, and family to send videos to wish him a happy birthday. The videos came pouring in to help celebrate my man. It was a special evening. This man God sent me is a blessing to so many people all around the globe not to mention me.
A recurring theme last night from the videos and sweet words from local friends is how much they appreciate my husband’s honesty and willingness to be real. This trait is also one that I love so dearly about him. He will tell you the truth. More than anyone I’ve ever known, honesty is his spirit animal. The truth rolls off his tongue. Truth seeps out of his pores. Don’t ever ask him if something makes you look pudgy. Just don’t.
How sad that honesty is a rare trait among us! How sad that when we see it we are either extremely uncomfortable or it seems alien! How sad that my husband has been reprimanded in the past for being too truthful, for sharing his heart and passions too boldly.
Sadly friends, there are times when the most dishonest place I’ve been is in the foyer of some of our churches. And yet, our culture is begging for truth. The church should be where truth is found not where it is questioned. I am of the belief that if something looks too smooth and too pretty, truth may be missing. Life is gritty and messy. Our churches should reflect the redeemed, but the gritty and messy better also be present- the tatooted, the pierced, the guilty, the homosexuals, the divorced, the non-believers, the addicts…we all should feel welcome. If we are truth-welcomers, then the truth of our culture should be welcomed and invited to sit at Jesus’ feet as well.
With a quick google search I found 37 pieces of scripture that reference the importance of truth telling. The message ranges anywhere from “God hates a lying tongue” to “let your yes mean yes and your no mean no”.
As far as I can tell, there are 2 reasons why we shudder at being completely truthful with each other.
1. We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Feelings have become our God. We have become a people of safe-place worshipers. Even the most judgemental of us must all come together in our own safe-places ignoring God’s call to love all and welcome all. In truth, we must be sensitve to the needs of others, but sacrificing truth for the sake of feelings does a disservice to everyone around us and frankly, makes us liars. Does that hurt to hear? It should.
2. We want to save face and keep friends. Our egos are also up on a pedestal. Truth-telling may reveal something about ourselves that is unpopular. We may be required to disagree with power-brokers around us. This risks our position and our reputation. Rocking the boat causes problems in relationships; so does dishonestly, but it is easier to pretend we all agree all the time. It is also easy to pretend we have our lives all together and everything is perfect then go home and drink ourselves into oblivian. A sin hidden is a sin that controls you, a god that wants to kill and destroy you and everyone you love.
Friends, our allegiance is to God. The truth is vastly important to our Father. So important that His son refers to Himself as THE Truth whereas Jesus declares that the evil one is the father of lies.
Put it all away.
Put away the little “I’m fine today”.
Put away the “that dress is so pretty on you”.
Put away the slander of your neighbor.
Put away the tight lips when truth needs to be told.
Speak the truth in love, for certain, but speak the truth!
And if we become of people of the truth, then we must also become a people who can bear to hear the truth. Listen. Truth hurts sometimes. Let it sting. That’s when change can happen. That sting you feel, may be your conscience calling you to repentance. I’ve felt that sting. It isn’t comfortable.
“Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.” -Ephesians 4:25