It was the same as always. I rolled my eyes as the dear woman beside me proceeded to tell a story once again. It wasn’t that I didn’t like her or her story; the fact was that I couldn’t believe a word she said. What made it so bad was that there was truth mixed in with the lies she constantly spun, making it hard to know what was right and what was wrong.
I cringed as he drew near me. I knew that I would suddenly be told the honest truth about myself. He seemed to always have a way of being upfront and truthful about the way I dressed, ate, sang, or simply lived…this usually resulted in that tearing within my soul that hurt pretty deeply.
How exactly am I supposed to answer that? This is something that I myself have struggled with on many occasions. What happens when your friend asks you if you like her hairstyle? Or what happens when you speak the truth, but it jeopardizes someone else?
I have to go back to the verse that says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!”
Earlier, I gave two examples of people I know. One is always on the borderline of white lies; the other is on the constant tirade of honest truth. Yes, the last one takes things a bit extreme; sometimes his honesty would have never even needed to be spoken. But if I was going to need an absolute answer that I could trust, I would go to him because I trust him. Honesty goes hand in hand with trust. Tell someone a lie or hide the truth, and you slowly chip away that valuable bridge of trust that has swung between your hearts.
As a Christian, I also go to what the Bible says about honesty.
Proverbs 12:22 ESV /
Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.
Proverbs 16:13 ESV /
Righteous lips are the delight of a king, and he loves him who speaks what is right.
Proverbs 11:1 ESV /
A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight.
Nowhere in the Bible does it say anything about being “too honest”. In fact, Proverbs 11:1 is saying that we are to be honest, even in our work and giving and selling. If God is so concerned about honesty that He tells us to be fair in every detail of life, I would think that He would agree that there is no such thing as “too much honesty”.
Yes, there are people who say things they would not need to say. There are people who use the truth as a cover to hurt others. We should know better than to use honesty in this way; for God tells us to love our neighbors and treat them with love and respect. That means that we speak honesty in a loving way, not as a tool to destroy.
What about when honesty compromises your own or other’s safety? I am reminded about the struggle between Corrie ten Boom and some of her family members. Corrie believed that she did not have to be honest when it came to safety; while Nollie and Cocky disagreed.
THE HIDING PLACE BOOKNOTES
CHAPTER SEVEN – Eusie
Even though Peter had come home, he was still not safe, because German soldiers were using a method of forced servitude that the Dutch called the “razzia.” They would perform a lightning search and seizure of all the young men they could find and transport them away to work in munitions factories. One night, it happened in their neighborhood, and Peter and his older brother, Bob, rushed into Nollie’s house, looking for a place to hide. Nollie put them in her secret spot in the potato cellar under the kitchen table. When the soldiers burst down the door, they demanded the boys’ younger sister, Cocky, tell them where her brothers were. Without missing beat, she said they were under the table. When the soldiers lifted up the tablecloth, Cocky began to laugh, and so did everyone else. The soldiers, feeling humiliated, left, and the ten Booms spent the rest of the evening feeling both grateful for their safety and arguing over Cocky’s insistence on telling the truth. Nollie stood by her daughter and said, “God honors truth-telling with perfect protection!”
Being honest doesn’t always have such good results. Sometimes honesty can truly hurt you, but I have come to the personal conclusion for my own life that I would rather err on the side of truth and keep a reputation of trust than frown on too much honesty and have ones around me feel unsure of my allegiance and commitment to what is right. I believe that this is a decision that each person must wrestle through so that they truly know for themselves whether honesty is the best policy or not. Thanks for joining me once again!
- “Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive!”
- Sir Walter Scott