Regardless of the outcome, I spoke my truth. I simply told people the truth I knew because I thought they should know the truth, too. Sometimes, I delivered my honest remarks with a measure of tact and compassion, but I wouldn’t withhold the truth to spare anyone’s feelings.
My new ministry partner, Elena, and I enjoyed a delightful luncheon at a local tea house. We discussed our common mission and I felt safe with her. We talked about the differences of living in the North versus the South and I told her of my deep concern with the level of gossip I had experienced while living in the Bible Belt. It seemed that nearly everyone I met there tried to pry from me some information they thought I might be privy to.
I must have hit a nerve. Elena dove into a story about a man who had once been very involved with the ministry. Mr. Dodson always said exactly what was on his mind. He especially focused on applying Biblical principles to the current situation. Didn’t matter what impact his words had on those he spoke them to. He simply felt it necessary to get his point across. Elena said Mr. Dodson was honest to a fault and that his truth telling was usually not well received.
For we are concerned about what is right not only before the Lord but also before men. 2 Corinthians 8:21
Our Christian life should exemplify honesty and we should work very hard to achieve that. A life free from untruthfulness and deceit is important to all our relationships at home, in our workplace and with our community. If we only had to consider God’s judgement, we could, with a pure conscience, share what we know to be true. However, we must also give consideration to human judgement. God knows our honesty. We don’t want others to suspect us. We want them to trust us. In order to be useful to God, a servant does well to display integrity in a manner that produces a good impression with others.
If someone thinks he is religious yet does not bridle his tongue, and so deceives his heart, his religion is futile. James 1:26
One of the first signs of true Christian faith is gentleness of speech. Those who think of themselves as true servants, yet fail to speak with restraint, are deceived. A heart that is truly humble and gracious will not speak of others’ faults. A sincere Christian is more motivated by love for others than with obsession for relaying true and accurate information. Even this, though, should be considered more a guide for self-examination than a stone hurled at one in error.
I’m good at taking a hint. I quickly realized that Mr. Dodson was a mythical character. My friend, Elena, was referring to me! That day, I learned to use more filter when sharing my thoughts about others. The honest to a fault approach with people can be received as hurtful and insensitive. Honesty must always be accompanied by kindness.
Have you ever spoken a truth you later wished you had kept to yourself? Those types of mistakes can be the best teachers.