May 9, 2019
I stand firm on the belief that I will never speak on something that I haven’t been through myself. Out of all the trials and tribulations I’ve been through in my life (which have been many), the one thing that hurts the most out of all of them are the times my honesty damaged relationships I held dear to me. That one time the situation escalated quickly, being drunk and firing off at the mouth, or feeling the need that your opinion on a topic was warranted because you wanted to have control, have all been moments where I’ve met the overwhelming power of destruction. My pride and selfishness interfered of understanding that if I approached the situation differently, humbled myself, and just listened to see where someone was coming from then maybe some of those relationships would still be present. It wasn’t until I truly began to dive in to what the Word had to say about this that I changed my perception on how I approached being honest with those around me.
James 1:26 (NIV) declares, “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.” Who am I to call myself a true follower of Christ if I can’t keep myself in check? Isn’t it funny that we can always “keep it real” with others but won’t take the time to sit down and “keep it real” with ourselves first? Though I can’t see you when you read this, just know I’m coming in your house on this one. It’s funny that we don’t care who we hurt or lose by being honest with because we want that respect, but can’t be honest with ourselves to deal with our own hurt and loss in understanding of who we are. We’re unapologetically quick to chastise others and belittle them, but can’t even look at our own reflection in the mirror because we know that what we’ve done in our lives isn’t any better and wouldn’t be accepted by God either.
I was unapologetic towards anyone who wanted me to be straight up with them. I lived by the code of, “if you ask me an honest question, you’ll get an honest answer.” I didn’t care whose feeling I hurt or what relationship I damaged. Instead, I took pride in knowing that I was being the authentic me and believed that being that way alone would gain respect I thought I deserved. That is until I began to receive feedback from those who I was honest with. I’d receive this type of response:
- “I know you were being honest, and I appreciate that, but that was extremely rude how you said it.”
- “I know you’re being honest, but you don’t think about how you say things until after the fact.”
- “I just want you to listen and not always give an honest opinion all the time.”
- “You don’t understand who you hurt when you’re honest sometimes.”
These are just a few of the responses I’ve received from those who have been on the receiving end of my harsh honesty. It took me up until this past year that the message was clear: I was doing it all wrong.
Colossians 3:15 states “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” For me, I’ve learned to be passively peaceful in my honesty. That my tone, body language, and using proper words all play a role in someone accepting the honesty that I present to them. What I’ve witnessed from myself in response to being a passive-peaceful honest person is that I’m able to grow and understand with the person that I’m being honest with. That instead of damaging our relationship, I’m able to successfully building up a bond with that person to be stronger than we were before. I don’t take any credit for that. Instead, I thank my Lord and Savior for stepping in to my life, humbling me, and making follow the way He wants me to live.
So I’ll leave it with this, for anyone who reads this that I’ve hurt, caused pain to, or burned the bridge between you and I, I apologize for being unapologetic in those moments and hope that one day that I can be forgiven and re-establish what we had.