I mean that literally. It’s a real question. I really want the answer. Or, more to the point, can we be honest...and nice? Christians, I mean.
Is there some sweet spot between…
“Everything’s great!" (when it’s not)
"Praise the Lord and it will all be okay!"
"All you have to do is pray!"
"Honey, it all works out in heaven, never mind how you feel now.”
“The world bites worm dust and so do people!"
"Nothing ever turns out right."
and "You are ungodly, by the way.”
Can we be honest, really honest, without ripping each other apart? We would have to start with the honesty part first and saturate there for a while because... too often.... it feels like a lot of people are saying what they think they should say and not what they need to say. Including me.
So, we ending up not speaking the truth because we worry that it might not be perceived as the truth said in love. I am a big offender here and I want to change. Sometimes I say what I think should be said or what I think others think should be said. And walk away feeling empty.
Can I be honest and say life really stinks sometimes and so do people? I mean, sometimes people are very bad, very selfish and cruel and….here’s truth for you…I don’t love them. I want to, but sometimes I don't. There, I said it, and I am wondering if the silence is in my own head or is it where you are sitting too.
Can you tell me that you haven’t thought it, felt it and even dwelt on it? The Bible is chock full of starkly honest people. Jeremiah, Joseph, Jonah, Paul, John, Peter...and God honored Job's miserable honesty over his friends righteous sounding piety.
Do you have more experience with the “I am the voice of God for you” people who are sure that they, and only they, have the true word for you? Or, conversly, do you know a lot of people who say they love you but wouldn’t confront you about something harmful that you are doing to yourself or someone else?
Many church’s seem to have the same problem. They either let sin run rampant because they just want to “love” their congregation or they are so judgmental that their congregants feel dirty and unlovable. Speaking the truth in love and with a loving heart gets lost along the wayside. Biblical honesty is often lost in the scuffle...er, I mean, shuffle.
Instead we settle for smiling sweetly and saying “praise the Lord!” when we want to shout that life is really hard. Or, we think that the “love” part of truth is just too hard to attain so we settle for baseball bat theology and hope the victim will at least limp into heaven, though injured from friendly fire.
This is a problem that we seem to have a tremendously hard time fixing. The answer is not for all of us to go to our windows and do a Network style "I'm mad as **** and I'm not going to take it anymore!" but being Mr. Rogers (love him though I do) in the pretend neighborhood isn't either.
I had to read carefully to make sure I was getting your point correctly. I think I understand what you are saying. I firmly believe God wants honesty from us. Why not, for He already knows the thoughts of our hearts. We may fool others for awhile, but we will never fool God. We can take a stand against something or speak out in disagreement, but we should do it with gentleness, regardless of how we feel inside. At least I think God is gentle in His dealings with us, even in His chatisement, yet I wonder if He thinks we stink too.
We can go to the extreme in two different directions if we are not careful. I hope I did not misunderstand your point, and if I did, I apologize. You've got me thinking anyway. LOL. God bless.