Looking for the Liars, a post about honesty and kindness

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"Don't go justifying your mouth with God's words." S. Kim Henson

“Don’t go justifying your mouth with God’s words.”
S. Kim Henson

“We’re members of the Presbyterian church in Conway, but we’re visiting around. We thought it may be time to move our memberships to the beach.”

“You signed one of the visitor’s book, right?” the pastor asked.

“Sure did,” I said.

My husband and I walked silently to our car. When we were out of earshot, I said, “Are you upset?

“Why would I be upset?”

“Well, let’s see – I just sat in church for an hour, prayed, sang hymns, prayed some more, listened to a sermon, walked outside, shook the pastor’s hand and thanked him for a great sermon,” I said.

“Then I lied to him.”

“So, what should you have said? Nope, we didn’t sign it and don’t want to.”

“Should we go back and put our names in the book? You know, in case he looks,” I said.

“No, I don’t want to be bothered until we decide where we want to attend,” he said.

My husband put an end to our debate.

At first, all I could think about was the verse, “Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another.”

But then I grew defensive.

When a friend told another friend the event she invited us to was long and boring, was that necessary?

And when an acquaintance told one of our book club members that others thought her kids were bratty, was that really for the sake of truthfulness?

And the church member who refused to give tickets for a choir event to another member, telling her it was because her husband was a bartender – was that sincerity or condemnation?

I know God didn’t say, “When you’re following along in the Bible, use your common sense.” My goodness, we’d have a free-for-all in interpreting every verse our own way. But then, if we’re honest, don’t we do that anyway?

And if we’re going to play by our own rules, it seems a better idea to at least play nice.

Laying in bed tonight, just before I realized I wasn’t going to sleep until I wrote this post, my husband laughed out loud. When I asked what was so funny, he said, “He’s probably still there, looking through the visitor’s books. Still looking for the liars.”

In the dilemma of being truthful without crossing the line to unkindness, what are your thoughts?

WRite wHere I’m supposed to be – My husband often tells me, “You’re too honest for your own good. People don’t want to hear it.” He’s right. Especially since I’ve figured out maybe, just maybe, it’s kinder not to try to straighten everyone out. Today I want to be kind enough for other’s good and honest enough for my own good.

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8 responses »

  1. Like it! Tough call, I would shoot for 100% honesty, then moderate it with silence. However, I hate when someone pops an awkward question with little time to respond. Then before you know it, a lie slips out, and you spend all week regretting it. Some churches act like time-share salesman, calling and visiting, so I avoid the guest book as well.

    • I’m all over honesty so our church encounter threw me off. From that moment, as well as a hundred other similar ones, I’m learning to live more consciously. To pay attention and not just roam around reacting. I love your comment, “moderate it with silence.” Yeah, right! That’s another post about a gift I wish I had. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Pingback: Pause For a Moment of Kindness « S. Kim Henson's blog

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