Truly, Truly

20 12 2013

Imagine a church community where honesty and vulnerability are modeled as victories and honored as courage!

Imagine a church community where it really is okay to be honest when you are not okay!

This community is a brave and safe community.

Today we are going to talk about honesty as a discipline in our endeavor to grow closer to God.

The ability to speak the truth – in love – and “let the chips fall where they may” is vital to our spiritual growth. It takes a level of maturity to be honest about yourself, and truthful with others, for to do so is risky.

Truth confronts the sin of hypocrisy in the community of faith.

If you ever want to see people squirm, be honest about what’s going on in your life. Instead of using the Christian “F” word (“Fine”), when asked how you’re doing speak the truth. You will, of course, want to choose the person/people with whom you do this. For instance, I wouldn’t pick the church Gossip!

There have been many times when I’ve been vulnerable with others, and been thanked. On more than one occasion, the other person opened up about some issues they struggled with as a result of our conversation.

Being vulnerable with our hearts gives others courage to do likewise.

This was modeled for us by Jesus in Gethsemane, and by Paul in several of his letters to the church.

Truth is necessary for real healing to take place.

As we share with others what’s going on in our hearts, they can speak truth into the matter and bring the light of Jesus to our struggles. We are thwarted in spiritual wholeness to the degree that we hide our true selves.

In addition to hiding from others, we need to realize that we can lie and hide even from ourselves. Any addiction is a prime example of this truth. As a healed alcoholic, I can attest to the ability of denial to hide the awful truth from oneself:

I didn’t have a drinking problem, a strawberry Daiquiri was my morning fruit serving…perfect with a bowl of cereal. It was healthy…so healthy that I had one every hour or so. Sure, I consumed an entire bottle of rum every day, but look at my healthy diet!

Love requires truth.

A relationship with a dishonest person is miserable, for trust requires truth as its foundation. Since we can’t change others’ ability to be honest, then we must work on our own. This is more important than we might think:

“If the person I present to you is not who I really am, then even if you love me I will not feel loved.

“I will suspect in my heart that it is not me you really love, but only the ‘false self’ which I have presented to you.” 

Whenever love is conditional, the soul will be – or will feel – unloved.

Hollywood gives us many examples of this. One that surprised me was the “tough guy” from Happy Days (are you old enough to remember the show?). Arthur Fonzarelli, known as the “Fonz” was a bit of a bully to the guys, commanding respect and awe from even adults. You didn’t mess with the Fonz!

Several years later, I saw him on a talk show. He was more like the “Panz” than the “Fonz” in real life. Everything I knew and loved about Fonzie flew right out the window!

The point is, celebrities earn their living by play-acting. When we see them in a natural setting, they are often very unlike their screen personas. Consequently, we didn’t love them for who they really are, but for who they pretended to be. It’s no wonder so many turn to drugs, alcohol, and other addictions. They must play the part, or risk rejection on a grand scale!

It can be the same way in real life. If we choose to pretend to be something we’re not, then our “real” self does not receive love…and the love we do receive is false, for it is based on fiction, not fact.

One of the primary ways the Enemy tries to destroy us is with secrecy. Hide your heart, never let anyone see what’s in there…bad or good: “Act the part; make people happy. Keep smiling, and never let ’em see you sweat.” He knows that love is the food of the soul. If he can cut us off from love, then he can starve us to death!

“Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.” Psalm 51:6

To develop honesty, here are some practical directives:

* Be honest in prayer. God knows what’s really going on in our hearts. We need not hide from the One who knows us best and loves us most.

* Be honest in journaling (more on this another time). Write down things you’re working through. Later, when the issues have been resolved, these pages can be burned as a “sweet-smelling savor” to God. If you don’t journal, talk it through with God…out loud. The point is to get this stuff out of your head and either onto paper or into God’s ears.

* Be honest in close community. Note the word “close.” Sharing heart issues with a handful of trusted friends can be beneficial.

* Be honest with mentors. How can a person help us develop if we are not truthful with them? We have an “apple” issue, but only talk about “oranges” with them. Then get frustrated with their input because it’s not relevant to our “apple” problems! This is like talking to Fonz about his bully tendencies – his need to be more loving, when in fact the Panz is dying from a lack of love…and contemplating suicide. (Not that he is – or ever was, by the way!)

Here’s our new motto for the year:

Let there be truth on earth…

…and let it begin with me.

*****

You’ve dropped in on the series Intimacy with God. It begins here: C’mon In…

The section on Living by the Rules starts here: Where Image Is Everything

Learn about other Obstacles to Intimacy here: A Clogged Conduit

Are loss and grief obstacles to intimacy? Our discussion on the matter begins with Plastic Hearts

The Discipline of Forgiveness begins here.

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18 responses

5 01 2014
daytimedreamer17

I love this post on truth, especially hen you say that truth allows for real healing. That really hit me hard, since I just lost my grandfather a couple of days ago. Just being honest to God about how I feel and my faith has been a big help for me. I also post a blog and am working on a blog- story. If you have a moment, please check it out, I think you could enjoy it. Feel free to leave a comment or give some writing tips! Have a blessed day.
http://www.daytimedreamer17.wordpress.com

6 01 2014
lessonsbyheart

This year has been a rough one when it comes to “losing” people. The tally for 2013 was 8…three family members (hubby’s father and brother, and a man who was more like a father to me than either of my “dads.”), and five friends. We didn’t actually “lose” them – we know right where they are! The holes they’ve left are huge, though.

I’m on my way to your site right now!

\o/

6 01 2014
daytimedreamer17

Yes we do! It’s hard to accept, but we will see them again! Thank you very much

27 12 2013
thethinkingofthoughts2013

Beautiful post as ever and a challenge to boot. I remember when I was a very young mum being honest at church once – to the wrong person. My husband was away in the services – I had two very young children and he made the fatal mistake of asking how I was……I told him the truth…….he had been expecting the fine. Unfortunately it showed in his face. I made a mental decision that day which cost me dearly and I stopped telling people how I really was. I just assumed they could tell how much pain I was in,……..but people are not mind readers. They wanted to help me but I kept telling them was fine when every fibre of my inner being was calling out in desperation for much needed help. Thankfully God (and my Pastor and his wife) intervened but only after things had gotten very very bad for me. I was proud and foolish and the only person who was really affected by my dishonesty was me! Do not make the mistake I made……tell the truth because as I have learned since – when you are willing to be honest and vulnerable to another person – it gives them permission and courage to be honest too. Then you can help and pray for one another……and that has made all the difference.

THANK YOU for your honesty and vulnerability. I am always blessed by it x

27 12 2013
lessonsbyheart

Wow! That was a tough lesson to learn for sure. How gracious of our Father to intervene and send those who could help.

I’ve learned that being honest and vulnerable does, indeed, give others permission to do so. Being the body…that’s what it’s all about.

So glad to hear from you. Merry Christmas, and may the new year be filled with fresh revelation of our amazing Lord and Friend!

Love,
Tami
\o/

28 12 2013
thethinkingofthoughts2013

Yes it was very tough! But I didn’t know the love of God then as I do now. God used this amazing couple to teach me about himself again and again. It ended in much blessing. May God bless you in all that you do for Him.
Much love
ML

24 12 2013
PaperGiftsForEstefany

I used to sometimes say, “You want the polite answer or the truth?!” I’ve always loved the fact that Papa God sees into our hearts, so there’s no point trying to hide or pretend.

Merry Christ-mas Tami.

24 12 2013
lessonsbyheart

🙂

Merry Christ-mas to you, too!

\o/

21 12 2013
nopew

To be honest, the Truth is Jesus (John 14:6). When I am dishonest I insult my best friend and Saviour. That hits hard.
Peace

22 12 2013
lessonsbyheart

Hmm. Sure does.

\o/

21 12 2013
Tracey

“If the person I present to you is not who I really am, then even if you love me I will not feel loved.

“I will suspect in my heart that it is not me you really love, but only the ‘false self’ which I have presented to you.”

Whenever love is conditional, the soul will be – or will feel – unloved.

Loved these statements well said! They were quotea? From whom?Well written! Thank you for sharing! twe

22 12 2013
lessonsbyheart

Many of my comments come from the class I took this fall on intimacy with God. The study was so good that I wanted to share what I learned…so yes, the quotes are from Jim (our leader). 😉

\o/

20 12 2013
Tony

This is why the church that Jesus started
was in homes and not in buildings. Discipleship was done in a very intimate setting. In fact, the words make disciples in the original Greek literally means to become attached to one’s teacher in conduct, doctrine, and way of life. Church is about relationship. I will tell you about a vision that the Lord showed me when I had a home group meeting in my home. In the vision I saw people coming into my home wearing Armor. As the entered my home they took the armor off and were now vulnerable to one another. This is how church should be. A community of believers that love one another.

20 12 2013
lessonsbyheart

I agree wholeheartedly. We should be a “hospital” and not a war zone! 🙂

\o/

21 12 2013
nopew

I am most pleased by that vision; the same effect would go for the house Church we belong to. Without “leadership” people aren’t prone to fake it as much, because anyone can (and does) jump in and run with a comment, or a look, or a silence…
Peace

21 12 2013
Tony

You are blessed to have such a church.

20 12 2013
Valerie Rutledge

When someone I know personally gives me the “F” word for a response, I can usually tell when it’s a lie and will ask again, “how are you really??” We aren’t doing ourselves or anyone else around us any favors by pretending to have it all together. Excellent encouragement for us all.

20 12 2013
lessonsbyheart

My favorite way to ask is, “How’s your soul?” I get a much different response from that! Way to go for probing deeper!! 🙂

\o/

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