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Eric's Sunday Sermon; The Road To And From Uncensored Honesty
How could a small child be anything but honest?
Are we honest?
Wow what an August so far. It has taken me to less extroversion and more introversion. This is OK for a few weeks a year. But if God has put love in your life, it is not for you to keep and to hide.
Let us not beat around the bush here but rather jump right in with both feet. People in general cannot just speak their minds. You have to protect other people’s feelings. You have to respect their feelings. Basically you are trained and trained hard to avoid honesty if it means some pain. But let us be honest with ourselves, we mostly avoid honesty so as not to hurt ourselves (or what we perceive as ourselves). So quickly cutting to the quick we face that our lack of honesty is greatly based on fear. But am I afraid that I might hurt her feelings, or that in hurting her feelings she will not like me anymore? Or heaven forbid think less of me. And clearly I am afraid of looking within and being honest with myself.
I think most of us have difficulty discussing politics or religion because we are offended by attacks on our personal favorites. And yes the flip side is true also. We are afraid of being honest because we may offend someone with a different favorite or position. When points of view or perspectives or positions clash normally we just throw honesty out the window and go to default mode of protecting ourselves from unpleasantness or maybe even pain. An interesting area of self-inspection is if we are honest with our God. Yikes, I don’t want God mad at me because I do not agree with the learned preacher. Or a really fun one is when one is raised in a family that regularly attended church and then later makes excuses for not going. That is a double whammy because first you lie to yourself that there is a reason not to go and then deny that it is just because you do not want to go. And truthfully you simply do not need to go.
Tame some of that wild with some truth.
It is a new day dawning
Honest to God starts with honesty to ourselves.
Sometimes I get way into reading spiritual stuff like the Bible and in composing a sermon and I don’t want to go to church on a given Sunday. My wife really tries to make me feel guilty about that. She honestly believes it is part of the parcel that gets you in good with God. I personally look at it more like a revival that is good but not necessary – and I am the one who used to preach. Remember please that we are talking about unabashed honesty here.
Can honesty be presented in a way that is harsh and cruel? Can honesty be presented in a way that is peaceful and kind? I think we all know the answer is yes to both. I was a coach quite a bit. Correction of errors just better come naturally or you are in the wrong business. Some kind of innate knowledge of when to be harsh and when to coddle. One thing for sure is you better not be choosing the right delivery based on a wrong perspective or assumption. And if there is a real difference between that and raising your own children, I have yet to find it. So akin to our concepts of harsh and cruel versus peaceful and kind is the question “can we be best friends with our children”. The cool part there is that if you live long enough you can see the proof in the pudding. The relationship between parent/child and mentor/student and coach/athlete just plain requires an honesty that is sometimes harsh. This does not mean it is not loving. Shouldn’t the mentor learn from the student? And for sure the parent must learn from the child. And if a coach is not constantly learning from his athletes he is a lousy coach.
There is a hard fact that the harshness in the honesty is sometimes an inward thing. Let us face it, being really truthful is hard on a person. Then there is the tough part of expressing both truthful facts of a circumstance and the fact of how you feel. These cannot just be a recitation of occurrences but must be the result of some real reflection.
This little boy really truthfully loves, and he loves grandma Tam.
Sorry but like a shadow truth is often illusory
Is truth primary or secondary
TV news is an example of not being honest. First, each report must be couched in drama to sell. Secondly each station seems to have an agenda. Their own agenda not the agenda of getting to the truth. If you are being honest your motivation must not be to impose your thoughts on another but rather to discuss your thoughts and give truth to the listener. And this brings us to something that is hard for me to reconcile at all times.
Is taking on the mantle of total honesty a selfish thing? Sometimes I take it on solely for my own well being. Kind of like “I need to get this off my chest”. Does the person who is shrouded in deceit bear the weight of the world on their shoulders? Pretty much she does. So we see there is a kind of personal freedom in living in the truth. Must we go into extreme detail? We must weigh the fact that lying by omission is still lying, against just plain overdoing the purging of our deceit.
Here is a concept worth pondering. Almost all lies are about the past. There is that common future type act about promising to do something with absolutely no intention of doing it. But in general we lie about the past. And so we must come clean about our past conduct. And we get a little squeamish about just how far back do we go in order to live an honest life. Twenty years or heaven forbid forty years. But for sure anything that is left that propels us into a future without full honesty and we are only taking half measures. Can I be an honest person and yet have lied about one thing? And how can we have a completely honest relationship if it is built upon one brick of lies? It is at this point that I must tell you that starting out on a road to honesty will be difficult, or maybe even brutal, but once the base is in place carrying forward will make your life very much easier. Wouldn’t it be sweet if our default, knee jerk reaction to everything was simple honesty rather than based upon what others think of us?
The road of truth is narrow
Be happy, joyous and free
Could it be that we are already totally honest and never make mistakes? Could it be that our trust in our God is so strong that fully admitting all those mistakes is easy? I think you are actually a good person. And I think that within that good is a problem with being less than fully honest. I think it bothers you if you are living one ounce of deceit. And I think that carrying that burden is a lot of wasted energy that you could be using to do good stuff. Let us not do good stuff as a form of repentance but rather as a result of being free to put our energy into it for goodness sake. Please get rid of your censors within. Approach life with a goal toward freedom from the past.
Honesty starts with ourselves. Tell yourself something truthful today. Something you have been denying. Hey the cool thing is that no one will know unless you share it with them and that is your choice. I suggest you do.