1 Peter 3:10-12 – “For whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
Honesty. How elementary. As parents of young kids, you teach your kids to be honest from early on. Lips that readily tell lies reveal a heart that is concerning. My kids can disobey and even at times disrespect me as Father and I am concerned. But the level of concern I have when my kids are caught in a lie is different. Thankfully this hasn’t happened much, but a day is coming where lying will become a greater problem. We encourage honesty with our kids, yet I wonder how much honesty is something that we see as less important.
There must be honesty in our finances when filing taxes. There must be honesty in handling finances in our workplace. There must be honesty with our spouses about how we are spending money or time. And there must be honesty with others about sins that we are struggling with. If any of these examples of honesty are ones we struggle with, we have some things to address.
But then there are issues of honesty in relationships. I believe relationships with other people usually are only an inch deep because of this very issue of honesty. Your deepest relationship is probably with your spouse. You may not be totally and completely honest with your spouse about everything (which is wrong) but you are probably more honest and you put less costumes on around your spouse than you do anybody else. Inevitably, if this is the case, you probably experience more conflict in relationship with your spouse than you do with a typical friend. That is because you don’t dig as deep with your friends as you do with your spouse. But with conflict also comes much more potential for depth and sincerity in your relationship. This seemingly inevitable conflict reveals to us the depravity that exists within all of us.
Whether it be pride, insecurity, fear of being offended or offensive or just simply being okay with a relatively shallow friendship, honesty is often avoided. When honesty is avoided, relationships are stunted and strained. Bitterness develops because of unreconciled relationship, joy is zapped right out of you, and relationship with God is hindered. Conflict that is left unaddressed negatively affects your relationship with God way more than you might ever acknowledge. This is a big deal, which is why Jesus addressed this directly in Matthew 5:23-24. “Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.”
Do you have unreconciled relationships? Have you done all you can to address this broken relationship? Are you being honest with your friends? Could honesty actually deepen your relationship with this person to be the kind of relationship God longs for us to be in together as children of God? Learn to be honest with one another, “for the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous.”