Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Authenticity Isn't Overrated

I read this in a hotel room recently. . . . "Due to the popularity of our hotel room items, we have them for sale at the front desk."  In other words people are stealing the hotel blind and they don't want you to take their stuff anymore.  OK, fine, but it seems like they should have said that. Can't they just be honest?

I guess telling it like it is isn't that easy especially with those we love, but being genuine is pretty important as long as we do it wisely and graciously.  The New Testament in the Bible says it quite clearly,  Speak the truth in love.  You can't have one without the other. Truth without love can become inconsiderate arrogance while love without the truth is phony sentimentality. Healthy relationships need both aspects.

So let me offer a few guidelines about truth telling whether we're speaking to our spouse, kids or others close to us.  First, timing matters.  When you need to share from your heart take into account the location, who else is around and how long you actually have to talk. Mentioning your big hurt or need on the way into church simply won't work. And whatever  you do, don't use email or letters to say hard things. While it may be difficult it's always best to speak in person.

Second, talk only from your perspective not based on what you think the other person feels or knows.  Tell how you feel at that moment and explain what you need that would help you feel differently.  Don't blame, assume or try to convict. "I felt angry last night  . . . and needed this from you . . . " as opposed to, "You always have to get your own way, don't you?  You just think about yourself and no one else."

Third, be willing to be wrong.  Admit that perhaps you didn't have all the facts, have a blind spot that keeps you from seeing the whole picture or that you too have some things to work on.  Remember, your worth isn't on the line. Most people fight over generally unimportant things because they think they HAVE to win to be ok. You're not less of a person if the other person doesn't see things your way or you find out you simply blew it.

Spin is only for dancing, tops and cool sports moves. And when  you're my age . . . just forget it altogether. Definitely leave it out of your discussions and go confidently for the honest truth. Yes, the truth will set you free as Jesus said. Authenticity will make all the difference in whether your relationships are deep and lasting or not.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm, okay I'll try to speak the truth in love here. Sometimes it's there's nothing you can do but keep your mouth shut or be very political. Case in point. You are at church after the service and your wife waves you over to look at a friend's new baby. Your wife says (politically) "Isn't he the cutest thing." You look at it and realize it's the homeliest baby you've ever seen. All eyes are on you as you begin to say..... "I think I've got a phone call, just a second..."