If you could be completely honest with no regrets, what would you say and to whom?
Let me just go ahead and say it… this is the worst.prompt.ever! Ever! How could someone think this would be a good idea? Why would I put something in writing for the world to see if I’m afraid of having regrets by telling you to your face!?! WHY???!!!!! I sorta kinda begged Gil to let’s pick a different prompt to write to and he flatly refused and is holding to this one. Dangit! I guess that’s a battle not worth fighting for now, so I’m going to write to the prompt, but with defiance in every letter I pound on my keyboard.
I think it’s obvious at this point I’m not going to be actually sharing with you what I would say to someone if I could be honest with no regrets. I’ve really stressed about this all day. I didn’t know what to do, so as I sat down to write, I opened up a new tab and typed into the Google search bar “What does the bible say about taming your tongue”. Cool, I found lots of verses like this one.
Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word is a gift. Ephesians4:29 (MSG)
Then, I typed “What does the bible say about telling the truth?” Here’s one of the verses in that result that grabbed me.
These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace; Zechariah 8:16
Confused yet? Yeah, me too.
I have to be honest with you dear readers. I have not been honest with you. As I’ve been digging around in these verses, I’ve been struggling with wanting to say something, but certain if I put it out there, I’m going to regret it later. So, I’m going to do the equivalent of vaguebooking and tell you a partial truth.
I have spent the last week watching someone I admire (a public figure and not someone I know personally) being publicly ripped apart because of an interview that was published last week. It’s been really ugly. I have no idea what she and her family have actually felt and dealt with, but I just can’t imagine it’s been easy. I have cried and felt anger and hurt in all the ways I think they hurt. I’ve talked about all of this with my husband and have valued his opinion and even the times when his truth telling to me was not at all what I wanted to hear. People, hear me when I say I’ve struggled with this.
Why did I feel so much pain? Because the public vitriol and hurtful responses were ALL coming from other Christians. Christians who read the same bible I read and love the same God I love. But, told their truths in mean and negative ways.
I think the events of this past week is what caused my immediate aversion to this prompt and why my thoughts turned to such a negative response. I think I knew writing about this would force me to acknowledge some things I haven’t been willing to allow myself to think, much less speak. I’ll deal with that little psychological breakthrough at another time.
For now, I can tell you that in all of my research tonight, I didn’t find a single verse that said to be hateful when speaking truth to someone. I did find this one from Ephesians. And many more about speaking truth, but in loving, non-hurtful ways. I’m not saying that direction isn’t there, but I am saying I believe God guided me to the scriptures I needed to read right now. I believe He knows my heart is just too tender to deal with anything else. Maybe later, but just not now.
Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. Ephesians 4:15
I think one of the greatest challenges I’ll ever face as a follower of Christ is having the discernment to know how to speak truth in love. Is it possible to speak truth in love always? Is it possible to respond lovingly to a recipient of the truth who doesn’t want to hear your words and who perceives the truth as an attack? My prayer is that God will not only grant me this wisdom to discern when to tell the truth, but compassion to speak it with love, and the resolve to speak it even when the truth hurts.