This is the seventh (and final) post of a seven part series on manhood. The series is called Manspirations and the intent is to aim the spotlight of Scripture on the life of a man to determine how a man should live once redeemed by the blood of Christ.
In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act. ~George Orwell
I met a wealthy rancher at a concert once. He was a friend of a friend. As we stood in a circle and talked, I learned that he lived on a large spread just outside the Dallas area. Because I’m into that sort of thing, I casually inquired about his ranch. Did he run cattle, where was it, that sort of thing.
“How big is your place?”
(Slowly, examining me) “Where did you grow up?”
“Where did you grow up?”
“Okay, well I’ll be happy to tell you how big my ranch is – it’s 9,000 acres. But just so you know, for future reference, asking someone the size of their ranch is like asking someone how much money they have.”
While I was quite humbled by the experience, something resonated deeply about the courage to call me out like that. I liked it. There was something genuinely masculine about it. He was being honest. And it was the right thing to do.
It is more than Not Lying
We tell our kids to be honest, but what we tend to mean is not to lie. Not lying is an aspect to honesty, but honesty is more than avoiding the negative.
Honesty is telling the truth.
To avoid lying, one can just shut their mouth. But to speak the truth in love takes guts. To tell your buddy his drinking problem is destroying his family is telling the truth. To confess a deep sin to a brother in Christ hurts. Telling the truth is proactive. An honest man engages others with the truth and he knows that no prophet is welcome in his home town. Truth-telling is dangerous business.
In Matthew 5, Jesus advocates for keeping your word. He says not to swear and use oaths to get your point across. But when He says, “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No,’” I think Jesus has more to say about our manner of speaking. It isn’t just that we shouldn’t take oaths, but that we should speak clearly and frankly. And our word should mean something – just like His does.
When one or two words will do, use one. Say more with less. And for crying out loud, say it.
Straight talk isn’t insulting when done in love and with tact. When you engage a brother on a serious matter, take him aside per Matthew 18 – and then have the courage to say what you need to say. We don’t need sugar-coated speech, we need grace. The truth comes first, grace comes second.
Jesus wasn't pc
Jesus was loving at all times, but He was rarely diplomatic. In our world of political correctness, we bristle when someone infers something negative about us or a people group we belong to. (Don’t believe me? Go read the comments on an article written on a controversial social issue.) If Jesus walked our streets today, He would cause a ruckus. Jesus did not instigate on purpose, but the truth stirs the pot. Not once was He afraid to speak up and tell the truth.
Just read the red letter verses. Jesus was blunt. But He always brought grace and love with His truth.
For example, when He met the woman at the well, Jesus somewhat gently calls her out. He needed for her to name her sin so He could give her the blessing of His grace. Truth first, then grace.
The Gospel of Christ is not a self-help manual. It is not fluffy words for coffee mugs. It is an offense to some, a shocking condemnation of judgment. To others it an everlasting waterfall of life. Sharing Jesus with people takes words of truth seasoned with love. Their response may not be sweet, but it’s possible that God will take those seeds of truth and sprout a saving faith. That’s His job. Your job is to speak.
With Jesus as your example and His love as your motivation, speak the truth.