My last post was about honesty and based on responses I have decided to do a series.
Even as I type that word "honest." I realize that it can be perceived differently in different situations.
Being honest might conjure up thoughts of not cheating on that crucial History test (although for me - a math test would have been my temptation) or going back and telling the cashier she forgot to ring up a pricey item in your bag.
When you think of being honest you might recall times when you had to make a choice between a little white lie and someone being very upset at you. And, to a degree that is what I am talking about. But, it's much more than that. It is about being genuine.
My thesaurus gives other words for genuine: authentic, bona fide, valid, true, reliable. Now…that’s what I am talking about. It isn’t about flogging someone with your feelings or even with the painful truth. It’s about being genuine in your own feelings and thoughts; submitting them to God and no one else. It’s about letting your yes be yes and your no be no. For your sake , and for the sake of those you find need to communicate with and be an example to.
I had to have some medical tests done today. As I sat in the waiting room, I watched as one by one different individuals checked in and waited. They all looked nervous, unsure. What would the truth of the test result reveal? Would it tell them it was all okay, or would it radically change their life? None of them want ugly truth, but they do want to know the real truth about their health.
It’s like that with us. Or, me anyway. Sometimes, I would rather say what is nice, what is pleasant and circumvent the unattractive truth. I don’t like conflict. But, just like these people in the waiting room; truth is vital…it’s life and death.
I came to adult life, married life and mommy life with a lot of baggage. I accepted Jesus and meant it and I wanted a total transformation. But, I was still wading my way through a lot of residual pain from the way things were when I was growing up and the tragic consequences of some terrible decisions I had made. I latched on to the scriptures that talked about being kind, being loving, being good and reaping the reward. And, they are all true, but we live in a fallen world and people still sin.
As I worked through all of this and grew in my knowledge of scripture I was raising two daughters and I did them a great disservice. When conflict arose and people were mean, my standard answer was...”Just be nice.” And, their father would give them great advice like, “Kick ‘em back!” or “Go for the knees!”
The balance was obviously somewhere in between. I didn’t equip them for standing firm with love. “Just be nice” doesn’t begin to address the complex relational issues that come up. So, as they grew and conflict arose, they were trying to find the sweet spot between doormat and prize fighter. And, unfortunately, when they were hurt by church leaders who really should have known better, they internalized it instead of dealing with it or they finally had enough and got angry.
And, here I am at 47 still trying to find that delicate balance. I am absolutely sure that Jesus meant it when He said love, forgive, turn the other cheek, go the extra mile. But, I see a man strong in who He is and never compromising His true identity.
He never seemed concerned that people would be offended. He would let the truth speak for itself and while He hoped for a change of heart, He didn’t rearrange the Truth to achieve it. After all, He was crucified for being so offensive.
We are told continually in scripture to love and that must never be compromised, but we have to take a good look at what Jesus, Paul and others did to demonstrate what the scriptural love with shoes on looked like. And, at least in my experience, a lot of today’s Christian communication works so hard at being nice and wrapping it all up into a happy ending that it loses the life and death struggle that scripture really is.
I just want to be genuine and I want to write genuine things. Sometimes it was all turn out great and sometimes things end in heartache. In Hebrews, we see the list of the faithful who will reap their reward, but if you take a good look at that list you will see that much of that reward was not in their lifetime.
I want to write for people who are hurting, who need real answers and who sometimes need to know that there isn’t an answer, who need to know that someone else struggles with how to let their light shine in a very dark world and in sometimes a very dark church.
My writing might at times be emotionally messy but I want it to be true, reliable, bona fide, valid and authentic. I want it to be like Jesus.
Tracy, I think a series on this subject would, at the least, be interesting. Ask God for inspiration on it before you put pen in hand. I will be waiting to read what He has given you. This one is certainly good and inspiring. God bless.