Be gentle. Proverbs 15:1 contrasts the results of different approaches to honesty. A “harsh word [one lacking tact, kindness, and sensitivity] stirs up anger.” Anger can lead to a rejection. A “gentle answer [characterised by preparation, wisdom, and care] turns away wrath.” Gentleness can remove the barrier to honesty.
Since many of our relationships are not accustomed to the light of honesty, we need to move carefully and slowly. Because the truth does hurt, it only makes sense to handle it with care.
Be appropriate. Timing is crucial with the truth. If you need to confront your spouse, stay away from the loaded minutes when you first get home at the end of the day. A truthful conversation should be held in a private and quiet place.
Communication that holds potential for discomfort needs time and space. Don’t hurry. Don’t dole out a healthy portion of honesty on your way out the door in the morning. Don’t offer up a truth bomb as the last thing before you close your eyes for sleep and then defend your lack of discretion with, “I’m just being honest!”
Proverbs 25:11 compares “a word aptly spoken” to fine gems that have been set into gold and silver jewellery. That word of honesty will be true no matter where and when you share it. Put it in the right setting, and the result can be beautiful. Proverbs 15:23 says, “A man finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word!”
Build an environment of trust. Truth comes as a shock within a relationship where the norm has been denial. The resulting fallout may be devastating. Work on creating an atmosphere of acceptance and grace.
This is especially true when dealing with children. A parent who uses the truth like a sledgehammer, inflicting pain without grace, is an abuser.
Simon Cowell-type criticism without the safety produced by grace and love is rude, obnoxious, and malignant. It has no redeeming value. But, in a family where love is the main course on a consistent basis, a side dish of critique can be offered without fear of harm.
The honesty equation goes something like this: More honesty brings more intimacy—and more intimacy brings more honesty.
When you are in a friendship that is new or tentative, don’t unload truth all at once.
Set the stage for greater vulnerability later by sharing only a little now.
Perhaps Peter didn’t walk out on Jesus when Jesus called him “Satan” because by that point in their relationship, Peter knew that Jesus loved him. Did it hurt? Sure! But Peter trusted the giver of such forceful truth.
“In our desire to be an inspiration to one another we often veil what is true, because what is true is not always inspirational. But hurting believers whose lives are in tatters often need real help. If we were able to put aside our need for approval long enough to be authentic, then, surely, we would be living as the church.” Taken form Sheila Walsh book
Unpleasant truth is sometimes necessary. But our truth-telling needn’t be a slap in the face. Rather, it can be as gentle as a kiss that honours our relationships, demonstrates love, and confers value.
Learn the art of Kissing…. Truth telling….