“Post truth” is the word of the year.
And to heal a generation that is now immersed in it, we need to start with ourselves. We cannot expect others to embrace truth and honesty without us taking up that cross first.
Yes, in a fake system designed for plastic looks, emotional reactions and cyber relationships, saying the truth is a dangerous endeavor. However, facts matter and truthful conversations are necessary.
And yes, there’s a high price to pay when we say what we really think; but the price for living a lie is ultimately higher. As Alan Moore said, “You wear a mask for so long, you forget who you were beneath it.”
So what’s the problem with being truthful?
How come honesty is in danger?
It could be because we have been exposed to people who say the most horrendous things in the name of “truth.”
Yet, truth that does not lead to love, is no truth at all.
I’ve seen horrible people who are super honest and sweet people who are incredibly fake. Building relationship in either camp is exasperating; so I’m trying to find the sweet spot between transparency and kindness.
I’m pursuing it with all of my heart right now. I spent too long acting sweet but being dishonest. Then I became honest and forgot to be sweet. And in the in-between I think I’m somewhat discovering the honesty that can actually heal.
I hope these 3 reminders help you find your healing. And maybe together we can turn the tide and stop being the post-truth generation.
1. Be honest with yourself:
“Hiding how you really feel and trying to make everyone happy doesn’t make you nice, it just makes you a liar.” Jenny O’Connell
It’s incredible how deceptive we can be with ourselves. But there is no need to judge ourselves. No reason to explain. We can just verbalize that which is already real, “I feel: _________________ (angry, tired, depressed)” Because right or wrong, that’s how you feel!
And those emotions are valid.
Being able to share those feelings, and the apparent reason for having them, is extremely important. Start with yourself first – that will empower you to think of solutions rather than getting stuck in the negative emotion.
Remember that being _________________ (exhausted, pissed, annoyed) is not who you are. Your identity is rooted in something much deeper and eternal. It is what you are experiencing right now. So the key, is to be truthful today. Don’t hide, don’t pretend. Take off the mask and be free. And as you radically accept your feelings as they are, then you can embrace the process of healing, and move forward to the peace that surpasses all understanding.
2. Be honest with your closest family/friends:
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” Dr. Suess
When you have accepted your own emotions, feelings and thoughts, you can communicate them better. It’s possible to say, “I feel _________________ (hurt, confused, frustrated)” without being harsh and without being on the attack.
Just ask yourself, “Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?” – If you answer “yes” to all three questions then it’s time to have the conversation.
Remember that honesty is the foundation of healthy relationships. It gives rise to trust, which is essential for maintaining connection. Honesty also establishes consistency, allowing the other person to count on what you say. Most importantly, honesty is about respect and valuing the other person. Be wise and express your emotions appropriately now – if you don’t, they will be expressed inappropriately later.
3. Be honest with God:
“Going through the motions doesn’t please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you. I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.” David in Psalm 51:17
Say it “like it is” to God.
Trust me, He can take it.
The Scriptures are full of people who prayed what they thought, as they thought it, when they thought it. It seems like these imperfect men and women had a deep understanding of God’s omniscience (His ability to know all things). So why pretend?
Read the book of Psalms for 2 minutes. More than half of the chapters are poems of pain, anguish, desolation and turmoil. Kind of depressing right?
Well, to God it sounds like worship. Still do. For He is very interested in honesty, in humility, and surrender. There is nothing more attractive to Him than brokenness. So take 10 minutes in your room and go all David on Him. Write it down, express it with tears, turn the emotions into a song (even if it sounds more Rock-Metal than Cool-Reggae).
As the Apostle Paul said, “Speak the truth in love.” Start with speaking the truth with yourself, accepting where you’re at right now. Then, speak the truth in love to others and give them insight into your heart. Then, speak the truth in love to God and begin to trust Him as your father, friend and saviour.
That will be the beginning of a life that values truth and honesty and can transform the world with beauty and vulnerability.
Jesus said it best, “The Truth will set you Free!”
Don’t fear it, enjoy it.
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