12 September 2006

the "whole" truth and nothing but the truth??

I've got truth telling on my mind. That's not to say I want to tell the truth, necessarily. Weeks ago I confessed to my friend Julia that one of the things I struggle with in attempting to live into my identity as a Christ follower is that I'm a deceiver. It was a campfire chat, actually. And although she and I haven't talked much since then, I'm assuming that my transparency is not enough to disgard a friendship.

This weekend, around a different campfire, with other friends, we broached the subject again. In what ways do we stretch the truth (a little exaggeration helps a story dontchathink)? Are there occasions to omit facts or avoid direct answers so as to not "really" lie, but not really tell the whole truth either?

And then there's a test of any relationship, do you risk rejection and/or a separation or worse a conclusion of a friendship by addressing something in a friend? Is there an openness to face a friend who attempts to speak the truth in love but may be identifying something in your heart and/or actions that might cause you to feel defensive, or worse? Would our relationships be better served, and would we better resemble Christ if we held a posture toward our friends which might invite such conversations? And how would we communicate such a posture?

I remember the first time that someone confronted me about being sarcastic. My initial reaction wasn't stellar. I quickly assessed this person was obviously not able to handle a joke or two and that their overall humor quotient might be seriously challenged. But, as the holy spirit worked on my heart, I concluded that this person wasn't motivated to hurt me. And likely to just dismiss their lack of appreciation for humor didn't do justice either. So why would a person be so bold as to confront this in my life? Clearly the motivation was love. They knew I could do better. They viewed me as a representative of Christ and that Christ could be better seen in my life. Wow. My respect for this friend, and for their willingness to risk definitely changed my perspective. I'm still sarcastic, unfortunately. (Isn't it some type of spiritual gift?? Or something?) But I try to live into my identity more. I definitely want to be more like Christ.

Campfire chats do provoke interesting conversation. And although we didn't necessarily identify all the roots of why we might lie, or uncover why we might not fully offer information, we did, in my opinion, spur each other on toward love and good deeds. It's a piece of grace in the journey.


cindy said...

I remember a Sunday school lesson on this way, WAY back when I was in high school. I remember it specifically because my thought at the time was if the truth is going to hurt someone (i.e. damange their sense of worth) then it isn't worth telling no matter how constructive.

Now that I am (supposedly) an adult, I have no idea where that line should be drawn. It is critical to find the perfect balance between truth and grace.

Even then, the risk is often great.

Jewels said...

Hey Diana,

Glad you survived your third camping experience! You're an expert now.

I have to say that your honesty about being a "deceiver" is admirable - but a bit of a puzzle. It's like the "All Cretans are liars" paradox:) But I'm sure you don't mean you are always a deceiver.

I love your new attitude toward your friend who told you you were sarcastic. You describe so well how you changed from your initial reaction.

Gracie said...

Cindy-Isn't it curious how much of life we're looking (or conversing about) balance--usually recognizing we're not achieving it? btw, u ARE an adult. (Davey puts u over the line!!)

Julia-no expert. but i do really love camping. and yes, or no, i hope i'm not always a deceiver (but it makes u wonder if u can trust things, doesn't it??). it's really about identifying a pattern in my life. like remembering first lies way back and wondering, why did that happen? it's one of the things i just try to keep accountable on, but is part of my "flesh." Does that make it less puzzling??

Jewels said...

Yes, just another small piece of grace in the puzzle...