by Pastor Tim Burt
People often converse about the difficult challenges they have gone through in life like climbing mounting Mt. Everest or going through a divorce or losing a child to death or the challenges of growing old. None of these compare in their nature or in their experience, yet they are all extremely difficult. There are many difficult and challenging things we face in life but I believe there is one that is the hardest of all. I say this because statistics by researchers state it. I say it because it’s not a momentary or temporary challenge. It’s a life-long challenge. I say this because it’s the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about. What is that difficult and challenging thing? It’s telling the truth. It’s learning to be a truthful person. It’s learning to be one that doesn’t exaggerate or tell partial truths in order to get your desired outcome. It’s learning to speak the truth like Jesus did.
Researchers say that lying starts young in children who are testing parents to see if they can manipulate and get what they want or to keep from getting in trouble. The research says 91% of people lie on a regular basis. (And it continued to say, that in reality, the other 9% were probably also lying.)
People shade the truth constantly. They are afraid to tell the truth about what they mean, what they feel, what they think, and in most cases it’s because they are afraid of how the person that they lie to would respond if they told the truth. A person that is offended at another person will often dance around the truth about things that are bothering them. But, then they will go tell the truth of how they feel to the rest of the world.
People lie to better their position. People lie to impress others. People lie to protect the feelings of others. People lie because they don’t know how to say what they feel. People are afraid to lovingly confront the person they are having a problem with. They don’t know how it will turn out and are afraid of the outcome or they just don’t want to put up with the hassle of conflict by telling the truth. Because people don’t want to tell the truth for fear of conflict, they leave many things unresolved. Unresolved conflicts almost always result in bitterness that eventually leads to inappropriate and explosive eruptions of the same conflicts later. And don’t forget the behind-the-back slander and gossip that always accompanies unresolved conflict.
I have had the blessing of working for a man that is truly one of the most honest men I have ever known. When I talk to him, I am not wondering if what he says is what he means. He says what he means but in a spirit of love. I appreciate it because I always know where I stand with him. On the same token, because he is honest, some of the things he has said over the years have taken the form of correction in my life. Sometimes the truth hurts. That’s okay though because I know he loves me and has my best interest at heart. Proverbs 15:32 affirms this truth saying, “He who refuses and ignores instruction and correction despises himself, but he who heeds reproof gets understanding.” I’ve learned that even truth that is painful to hear usually helps me to grow. Lies to protect my feelings from being hurt hide the things I need to know and grow in. His example has been powerful to me and has helped me to have a much greater appreciation for being consistently truthful.
One of the keys in learning to speak the truth without hurting people is, do it in the spirit of love, mercy and compassion. Don’t sound like the devil and discourage people callously. When you have hard truths to speak, do so in love! Work to speak truth in love. Let your words be filled with grace and compassion. Even then people won’t always listen. They didn’t always listen to Jesus. Don’t use telling the truth as an excuse to be rude or “just tell it is! “I’m just a blunt person and tell it like it is!” No, you are a rude person and haven’t learned to speak the truth in love!
There are many hard things to learn to do in this world but I truly believe that speaking the honest truth in love is one of the hardest. If you were to take the challenge today of making every word you speak – kind, honest, and truthful, you’d feel this challenge. The Bible says that by learning to speak the truth in love, with someone’s best interest at heart; it will help us to grow up in Christ.
Eph 4:15 NIV “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Jesus who is the Head, that is, Christ”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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