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Monday, October 21, 2013

Honesty opens doors to healing

Wise words come from people of understanding.  People of understanding are able to speak of a situation in a completely different manner because they grasp the meaning of the situation.  The fool just cannot get the same grasp on the circumstances of life - they might babble on a lot, but the things they speak really don't bring clarity, or shed much light on the matter.  A fool cannot size up the situation because a fool seldom learns from his past experiences.  As if to point out the difference between the fool and the wise, the writer of Proverbs pens these words:  The road to life is a disciplined life; ignore correction and you’re lost for good. (10:17 MSG)  In order to walk in the pathway of life, we must accept discipline (correction).  The fool has a hard time with this - so they repeat the mistakes they've made over and over again.  If we want to live "rich" lives, we need to embrace discipline - for discipline is the road to true "richness".

God's blessing makes life rich; nothing we do can improve on God. (Proverbs 10:22 MSG)

If you haven't guessed it by now, I think God really looks for people to be honest, not necessarily perfect.  I think we get this a little messed up on occasion - thinking God expects our perfection.  The fool has a hard time being honest - making an honest appraisal of his actions, openly admitting his failures, being transparent about where he struggles the most.  The wise find the means to growth to be this life of transparency.  Honest appraisal of where you are, what keeps you struggling, and what you find you have the least control over in your own life is the beginning of learning.  We cannot learn when we don't recognize our "ignorance".  Honesty is the doorway to wisdom.

I think there are some things God expects in his relationship with is kids - these aren't optional - they are the basis of good relationships.  These principles certainly apply to our relationship with Christ, but they also apply in each and every relationship we have in life.

- There is no room for hidden hatred.  When we bury our disdain, trying desperately to hide our loathing of a person or thing, we just bury it - it never really gets dealt with.  When we bury stuff, it leads to anger, bitterness, and division in relationships.  God knows we struggle with certain things - liking some things we would do well to turn our backs on and turning away from other things because they are just too hard to deal with or we just feel so repulsed by them.  When we refuse to bury the stuff which is too hard to deal with, we open ourselves up for the opportunity to learn what it will take to get past it.  When we will not accept constantly embracing the wrong stuff, we get to a place where we begin to desire different outcomes in our lives.  This is the value of honesty in relationship - it keeps the stuff above the surface, until it is dealt with in the manner which will resolve the conflict we feel in the first place.  When the conflict is settled - through honest and open discussion with the one who can resolve it - we all maintain health in our relationships.

- There is no room for slander.   Slander fosters further sin because loose lips really do sink ships (relation-ships).  Slander is any untruth which misrepresents the facts.  I think we have lots of this in relationships - even our relationship with God.  We don't want to be honest - because honest words can sometimes bite a little - so we tell the white lies.  Trust me, there are no white lies - a lie is a lie.  Anytime we settle for an untruth, we allow the facts to be distorted.  God is a God of the facts - he tells us like it is and he expects the same from us.  Since he knows the truth, we'd do well to just own up to the truth in the first place.  There is no need to cover up - slander just damages the reputation of the one who is being lied about.  When we lie about ourselves as we speak to God, we are only hurting ourselves.  If we make it a point to be open, above board with him, we will not engage in this dangerous habit of "masking" our reputation with lies.

- There is room for words which refresh and are reflective.  Sometimes we have no problem pointing out our faults to God, but we don't always allow him to speak back into our lives the words of refreshing he so eagerly desires to speak.  We can become too negative in our focus on occasion.  If we tend to go this route often enough, our tendency is to see our relationship with God as "never stacking up".  It is tough to have real freedom of sharing in a relationship where we always feel we have nothing to offer.  Words of reflection are like sweet honey - they pour over us, sticking to us, almost leaving a "residue" of having been touched by them.  This is how God works - he likes to leave little bits of himself in our lives after each encounter with is presence.  Words which refresh and are reflective are often his means of doing just this - so don't cut him off when he speaks - those words matter!

The blessing of the Lord makes a person rich and adds richness to the relationship - there is no room for sorrow or shame where there is a blessing. We need to remember the awesome potential we have in relationship with the one who loves us so deeply so as to bless us with each encounter.  Just sayin!