Ever since I was young, I prided myself on telling the truth.
I didn't lie as a kid (at least not enough that I remember) and I would always break down and admit it when I was the one to blame in a circumstance. I had a very active and loud conscience.
To this day, when asked a direct question, I cannot tell a lie. [like George Washington and the cherry tree] I just can't. I never practiced it so it's really obvious on the rare occasion that I try to get away with not telling the truth on something.
But does all that mean I have always been honest?
Is it honest to withhold information?
Is it honest to give someone an answer they want to hear when you don't actually mean it? Or to carefully choose your words so that you aren't lying but you hide your actual opinion?
Is it honest to stay silent when you are in the middle of an opinionated conversation? To just nod yes the whole time and give the appearance of agreement when you don't actually agree at all?
Honest Confession: I have done all those things. And honestly, I don't think that's a very honest way to live.
Why do I do those things? I want people to like me. I don't want to offend people. I am often afraid to stand up for my opinions. I don't want to be controversial or critical.
Granted, I'm not always afraid to stand up for my opinions. Actually, in some cases and situations, I am pretty vocal. But overall, I am not sure that honesty, in this overall sense, has defined me. I am not sure that people have always known the truth of what I was thinking.
There is a difference, however, between discretion and honesty. There are simply times when discretion tells you to be careful with what you say and how you say it. And there are other times when honesty tells you it is time to stand up and be real. I want to listen to both discretion and honesty at the appropriate times. But I don't want to use the excuse of discretion as a cover for honesty.
I am just learning in this area. In fact, I just made a new friend who has some different ways of approaching life than I do. But, I was able to tell her what my opnions and beliefs were and she was able to do the same with me. We expressed how much we desired honesty and wanted the other to be honest with the other. It was SO refreshing.
I have much to learn. These written thoughts are just an expression of what is rolling around in my head. But I am excited to enter this journey of being honest about who I am no matter who I am around while at the same time continuing to use discretion and love in all my interactions.
I can think of no better example than Jesus to look to as my guide.
Does anyone else struggle with this? Any pointers for me?