Thursday, May 8, 2008

Is Honesty Really the Best Policy?

So, I've come back to write contrasting thoughts between myself or what the world would commonly say and what the scriptures say about what we speak. These are the things he is teaching me right now, this post is absolutely about my journey and not meant for any other purpose in case anyone thought I was preaching. Not this time anyway:*
When Rick and I had Princess a dear friend of mine (now a full time missionary in India) gave us a book called "Proverbs for Parenting". It is an wonderful resource and sometimes God brings me to it to parent me.

Common sayings:

"Let's be honest, shall we?"

"Tell me what you really think."

"I've gotta be honest with you...."

"Honesty is the best policy"

"I'm just trying to be honest with you."

"If you only knew what I really think."

"I pride myself on being direct."

"Let's just lay it all out on the line."

"I want your honest opinion"

....well, there are probably more... you get my drift.
The fact is, that not all honesty is profitable to those we speak it to. Since we don't speak the very words of God, we, I, am prone to sinning in my honesty. Now, I'm not saying that we should not speak the truth... woe, no way! I am saying that our every honest thought can get us in trouble. Let me bring this back to me.. cause that's where it's coming from anyway. MY every honest thought can get me in trouble. I am a third of my way through a century and I don't want to wait much longer to learn that there is a problem when I pride myself on speaking my mind.
So, I began to ask myself "how can I glorify God in my sharing, responding, talking, writing etc.

Well, here are some thoughts:

"The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked." Prov 10:11

"When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise." Prov 10:19

"The lips of the righteous brings forth wisdom, but a perverse tongue only what is perverse." Prov 10:32

"An evil man is trapped by his sinful talk, but a righteous man escapes trouble." Prov 12:13 (oddly, my birthday numbers)

"From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him." Prov 12:14

"Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." Prov 12:18

"He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin." Prov 13:3

"The heart of the righteous weighs it's answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil." Prov 15:28

"The wise in heart are called discerning , and pleasant words promote instruction." Prov 16:21

"A wise man's heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction." Prov 16:23

"Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." Prov 16:24

"A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered."
Prov 17:27

"The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit." Prov 18:21

"Do you see a man who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for him." Prov 29:20

The LORD knows the thoughts of man,
That they are a mere breath.
Psalm 94:11

'We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
2 Cor 10:5

(please post comment if you have any others that have spoken to you)

I guess in a nutshell I'm learning that there are two kinds of honesty. The kind that builds up, and the kind that tears down. There are honest thoughts in my brain that are not worthy of being shared just on the mere merit that they are indeed honest! They are truthful, but sinful. Therefore, I have to take them captive. They become prisoners so to speak at that point are only let out if they change into constructive reflections of Christ. Does that make sense? That process takes two things: time and prayer. I usually skip these steps. I'm learning their importance. Otherwise, I only speak Alicia, and Alicia is sinful. Even if I could walk around quoting scripture in ever word, I could be guilty of tweaking it or using it for my own means. Perhaps this would be by throwing it like a dart at someone because I want them to know they are wrong, or want to win an argument. So, even the words can be used wrong when they are the right words. It's the THOUGHT that needs to be taken captive. It's motives checked, re-checked and brought under submission to God. Then, the mouth can speak, if it should be spoke at all.
This is one of the hardest journey's I've yet been challenged with. Many women way their words, keep things to themselves, consider others feelings. I'm not good at that. I would say I'm more apt to lay it all out there and you take it if you want it and don't if you won't. How prideful that is.
So, much of the Christian life is a "put-off, put-on" process. Not out of a pursuit of righteousness positionally, but out of a changing into the character of Christ. So, I ask myself, and God, "What do I put on here?"
Here are some of the answers and I welcome more:
"Does this thought which I'm about to speak or write build up the one I am speaking it to, or does it tear them down or pick them apart?"
"If it is a criticism is that criticism valid biblically, and furthermore, am I motivated purely by their Christ-like betterment or my own looking better?"
"Does this honest thought once spoken resemble more a hanging out of my personal laundry, or does this person really need to know this?"

That sort of thing.....
It's a work in progress.
All of it applies to all relationships in my life. All have the potential to be better when I can learn that my honest thoughts don't always need to be spoken. They can be like ugly little men with swords doing damage to those I love. They should have been taken captive and only let out when they put down their little swords and walk out cautiously with honeycombs.

1 comment:

tricia w. said...

The other one I use is Proverbs 15:1 "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stirs up anger." And it has more to do with the tone in which you answer people.

I can really see this with my children and my husband.