Honesty. A virtue they say, but for surprising reasons, it can be a difficult virtue to arrive at. Think of the implications of these sayings.

“If you don’t have anything nice to say”… then, you shouldn’t speak up, you shouldn’t be honest.

“Other people have it so much worse than me.” So, I should probably keep my complaint to myself.

“The squeaky wheel gets the oil.” But my dignity and care for others prevents me from being the loudmouth complainer (well, mostly:)

How can it be common for there to be an elephant in the room, even in churches, if believers value and practice honesty? There must be something, or some things, about being human that makes straightforwardness and honesty a chore at times rather than a delight. There can be a battle, and fear, in people’s minds that requires intentionality to overcome in order to share the truth. It takes practice to perfect the art of being honest.

Jesus relates. In John 12:27 Jesus is getting close to the night of his arrest when he says, “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose, I have come to this hour.” This thought crossed Jesus’ mind and he related it to those around him. Then, a few days later, he does in fact pray that prayer to his father. His soul becomes even more troubled, he is “overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” – Matt 26:38, when he seeks solitude in the garden of Gethsemane and prays the following:

Mark 14:36, “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

A few days before he wonders something like, “What am I going to do, ask God to take away the whole reason for me being here?” Then, when the time for his arrest and crucifixion arrives, he prays his heart out; asking God to do something along those lines. Jesus doesn’t remain stoic. He doesn’t keep a false front. He isn’t a fatalist that says “I shouldn’t even ask.” He is honest. His honesty didn’t alter his obedience either: except for how it may have solidified it in Jesus’ heart and magnified it in ours.

Pastor John Riley

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