Tuesday, June 30, 2009

When is Honesty a Good Virtue or Destructive?



Photo by batega @ flickr

From Denny: The word "honesty" is often batted about like a cheap tennis ball these days. Many people use it as an excuse to be cruel to others for in so doing they think they have taken away someone else's power and gained a step above the one they hurt. It's a sick dance and it's pretty amazing how many people are willing to participate in such a relationship. Too often those are close relationships like parent and child or spouses. No one seems to stop long enough to realize the destructive pattern and then they wonder why they are so unhappy in life.

Honesty does have another side to it in the form of living your own life in Truth. Often it does entail taking a long hard look in the mirror and making changes on the heart level. Honesty is a big help when you are going through that transformation process.

Honesty is best delivered first to self, then to others. And when you are thinking about delivering honesty to others ask yourself one question: Do they really want to hear this? Most times the answer is No, not really.

But what about the friend whose husband is cheating on her? Answer: You don't tell her. You know why? Because she will refuse to believe you. Then the second step is that after she finds out you were telling her the truth she will hate you for telling her. End of your relationship as she reconciles with her annoying husband. I've seen that situation play out time and time again.

We all want to desperately tell our good friends when someone is "doing them wrong." The problem is the vast majority of people are not yet ready to hear - and when they are at that place in their life when they are ready - it will be revealed without your intervention. Your job as a good friend is to wait patiently until your friend comes to you and tells you all about it, seeking comfort from you. Most people do want comfort and sympathy - and will accept it.

Quotes

"No legacy is so rich as honesty." - William Shakespeare

"Honesty is the cruelest game of all, because not only can you hurt someone - and hurt them to the bone - you can feel self-righteous about it at the same time." - Dave Van Ronk

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