Best policy “Honesty”?

Article by: Bridgehaven Team

A prevalent rebuttal to advice or a suggestion made in session when a counselee feels forced to make an adjustment in their attitude or behavior that is both hurting them, their spouse, or other relationship is “that’s not me” or “that’s not who I am.”  It is their way of expressing a resistance to something that seems unnatural or atypical for them.  In our culture since the late 1990’s a popular phrase used that conveys a determination to be genuine or true to oneself is “keeping it real.”  This is slang or euphemism for being honest. This is a very popular cultural motif where to be real, honest, and forthright no matter whom it hurts or how one is perceived is seen as noble and even righteous.  This kind of honesty cares little about what is true and more about being self-disclosing.  The idea is that as long as I’m honest I’m okay, even if I am wrong or deceived.  Proverbs says that a person who fully vents what is in his heart is foolish but a wise man quietly restrains himself.

We too as believers are swayed by culture that to do anything that is not in keeping with our personalities, temperament, or common ways of doing things should not be asked of us.  In this way disingenuousness is vilified and viewed as betrayal of oneself.  Even if God’s word tells us one thing, if it is competing with our “normal” it makes us uneasy and sometimes offends.

However, the fact that Jesus is Lord means that He has authority even over our temperament and personality.  Although, there are things we say, do, and think that are long standing habits or patterns in our life, those things are still corrupted by sin and therefore must undergo sanctification as well.  Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it is right in the Christ-like sense.  For example, we often give a pass to older people whose attitudes and behaviors are harmful but we write it off as them being “stuck in their ways.”  We think this way as well about our feelings and emotions.  That is, what we think and feel is more right and therefore deserving of our obedience than God’s word and what it tell us.  We deem our emotions as the greatest sign of honesty, and to dismiss or oppose them is to be fake.

Instead, we must view honesty in terms of Christ-likeness more than we view the expression of our own thoughts and feelings as being the litmus test of our genuineness. To be like Jesus is the truest self one can ever be.  The fact that we are commanded to “be like Christ” suggests a deficiency in one’s own character.  Anything short of loving and following Jesus is to not live for the purpose which God created us.  That is the definition of a façade according to the Bible.

Here are few questions to ponder as you consider how and if your honesty is glorifying to Christ:

  1. Does being authentic for you frequently come at the cost of damaging relationships?
  2. Do you look to others interest more than your own and therefore, consider context, timing, and approach as a way to love your neighbor so as to mitigate the potential damage your words or actions could have?
  3. In what areas do things that come naturally take precedence over what the Bible commands in terms of how to feel, act and behave?
  4. How does Jesus’ approval and acceptance of us provide security and alleviate the pressure to be honest with ourselves and others not matter the cost?