Probably for most of us, honesty seems like a pretty easy topic. We don’t outright lie to people or tell lies, so honesty is one of those “been there – done that” subjects. But I think that God wants us to grow in character in the area of honesty and to challenge ourselves to really live blamelessly and above reproach.
What does scripture say about honesty and lying?
First of all, the Bible is clear that Satan is the “father of lies” (John 8:44), and Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). Not only is lying condemned in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:16), but it also says in Colossians 3:9 that lying is an “evil practice.” God cannot lie (Titus 1:2), and He promises that liars will not go unpunished (Proverbs 19:5). Obviously, God takes lying and deception very seriously.
“Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal faithfully are His delight” (Proverbs 12:22). Honesty is related to being faithful, trustworthy, and honorable, and this brings glory and delight to God.
When you get right down to it, Jesus taught in Luke 6:31, “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.” Don’t we like to be told the truth? No one likes to be lied to! So if we want others to be honest with us, then we need to decide to be honest at all times as well.
Why is it hard to be honest sometimes?
But it’s not always easy, to be honest, is it? Sometimes if we are honest with people, it could hurt their feelings or cause a problem in the relationship, so maybe we hold back or refrain from sharing the truth. But if we don’t tell someone the truth, then we’re not really loving them.
It’s much easier to be honest with someone when you are in a relationship with them. To walk up to a stranger and tell them some deep truth is much more difficult than sharing that same deep truth with someone you know well. This is where intimacy comes in. By definition, intimacy is “into me you see.” As we get to know someone, we allow ourselves to become open and we show them our authentic selves – we’re honest about who we are, and that invites them to be honest and authentic about who they are.
Honesty is not wearing a mask, not putting on a front or pretending to be someone we’re not. It’s deciding that we are going to be true to ourselves – that we’re going to portray a true representation of our identity to others – there’s no deception, only authenticity.
Freedom in Honesty
As the level of transparency and emotional connection grows, we share our lives with each other. We share our hurts and struggles with one another and pray for each other, and as long as we are honest and honorable and have no deception within us, then we feel more free opening up to one another. We have no fear of being honest about who we are and what we’re going through. This is the beauty of honest & authentic relationships.
We want to increase our ability to be free to be open. John 8:36 says, “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” God wants us to be free to be ourselves, wholly, authentically, fully true to who we really are, and to share who we truly are with others.
We all have blind spots – things in our lives that we don’t see that are hindering us from living the full life God has for us. But others often see these blind spots in us. Some people are very open to feedback, but others are not.
We have to be careful and speak the truth in love, but sometimes we refrain from telling truth because we’re afraid it’s going to hurt the person’s feelings. We must remember that we are supposed to help bring correction; however, it has to be done in love. We can do this by focusing on the positive rather than the negative or mistake, and by saying what God says about the person (encouraging them).
We need to grow in a place of intimacy and maturity where we invite others to speak into our lives if they see something that is off in us. And we receive it well because we know that they love us and want what’s best for us, not to hurt us.
But remember, we only give others access to our hearts as they have “earned” it on some level. We don’t give everybody access to everything in our hearts without them proving they can be trusted with our hearts. It’s normal and healthy to have boundaries and to discern “can I really trust you with everything in my heart?” We must guard our hearts because they are the wellspring of life itself (Proverbs 4:23).
We also must remember to filter our own hearts — what comes out of our mouth has to be the truth, but also what comes into our heart has to be the truth. We are responsible for the condition of our own heart. We are responsible to filter what is a lie versus what is the truth, which is why hearing the voice of the Lord and knowing the Word of God is so important. In fact, we need to know the truth so that we can speak the truth to others.
We’ve all said things to someone before they were ready to hear it; no matter how nicely we said it, they just weren’t going to receive it well. There are a timing and readiness with how we should say things. We need to ask the Lord if we should say something or not especially if it’s possibly a correction or may be painful for the person. (Guard THEIR heart!)
#1 Is this even any of your business? (If the answer is no, then don’t say anything!)
#2 Pray about it. (Really hear God’s direction on the matter.)
#3 When is the right time to say something so it’s received well AND I can maintain the relationship? (Let God’s Spirit lead you.)
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