Sunday, August 12, 2012

It's Not Enough to Be Honest

We value honesty, and rightly so. It's a pretty good thing.

But I'm fascinated that though the scriptures compel us to speak the truth (after all, "bearing false witness" made it to the top ten "no no's"), speaking the truth is not just about being honest. Not really. 

You can learn a lot not only by what's in the scripture, but by what's NOT. Here's the astounding thing. When Paul lists the fruit of the Spirit in Ephesians, "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self control," honesty is conspicuously not included. Why? It's not enough to be honest.

I'm going to say something radical, perhaps even controversial. Honesty is not a uniquely Christian value.

I'm certainly not encouraging you to lie. George Burns said, "You've got to be honest; if you can fake that, you've got it made!" I'm not suggesting you be dishonest, but I am saying it is not ENOUGH to be honest.

Maybe we should watch out when we find ourselves saying "I'm just being honest!" Do we hear what we say? JUST being honest? If we are only being honest, we haven't gone far enough.

The call of the gospel is not to speak the truth ... period, end of sentence. The call is to speak the truth in LOVE. That's a bigger commitment than just being honest.

In Ephesians 4, where Paul writes of our call to speak the truth in love, he begins "I beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling ... with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."

Honestly, how can we ever be brutally honest?

Season your speech with salt. Spread the fragrance of Christ everywhere you go. Speak the truth, and often a deeply profound truth. But always speak the truth in love.