How much truth is TOO much?
Isn’t that a genius question? A scary question, that could have uncomfortable answers. And not a one of you are surprised it came from the lovely ladies of book club.
Because a “good Christian” should probably say that no amount of truth is too much. But I don’t agree. Words are so powerful. Words, once out of your mouth, can never, NO NOT EVER, be taken back. You can receive forgiveness, and I believe full forgiveness, for something you say, but that doesn’t erase that you said it. In my personal life, I can attest that hurtful words (some true, some not) spoken to me in the last 6 months have left an imprint on me that, though I forgive, can not be covered, smothered, or chunked enough to disappear.
I think that is why it can be called “brutal honesty”- because it is that- brutal. Pain-filled. And if you just dive right in to saying whatever is on your mind, trying to sweeten it with the syrup of “I just had to tell the truth”, but you break someone’s spirit or heart in the meantime, don’t you think you could have done something different? Maybe not….. it’s just a thought…..
I’m reminded of this often with my students. I’ll say, “You are about to send me over the edge” then the Holy Spirit will quicken my heart and I’ll follow it up with, “But I love you for it”. Not because I’m a super teacher- I’m not. But because I KNOW the hurt of words spoken too quickly, out of anger and frustration, and I don’t want to wound any of my students- especially when I may be the only representation of His LOVE in their little lives. That doesn’t mean I do it right every time, or that I have never said a hurtful word (Tatum can testify to that), but I am actively pursuing a wise tongue.
And that, bringing it back full circle, is what was brought up a book club- speaking truth, even though painful, can be handled well when handled with HUMILITY. On the parts of both the speaker and the receiver. We read “The Joy Luck Club”, where these 4 sets of mothers and daughters live on the outer edges of truth- where it is right there beside them, but they are unwilling to touch it. We don’t want to be like that, either.
Oh, it is such a fine line that I slip off of all the time. I don’t want to AVOID truth in order to make everyone comfortable, but I only want to speak the truth that is necessary and bite my tongue on the things that aren’t.
When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.
So I think our book club conclusion was that when truth is spoken WITHOUT wisdom and humility, that is too much truth.
Luckily, we have a God who humbled Himself (Philippians 2:5-11) and is perfect in wisdom (Colossians 2:2-3). We depend on Him- He does it right every time. So we are reminded that we can trust Him with all things- including the words we speak.
Book club has again made me think. PLEASE know that I write all this with the FULL knowledge that I have not grasped this concept, even a little bit. But I am praying, and seeking Him, to be a woman with wise words- true words, wisely spoken.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.