To Be Honest?

When I see “tbh” in my newsfeed on facebook, I have to smile. On Thursday morning, a friend described “to be honest” as fishing for compliments. I agree and think “tmwiwth” might be more appropriate. “Tell me what I want to hear” is at the heart of my shout out to others, and it is also at the heart of my cries to God. This morning, God’s lesson was about coming into His presence with a true “tbh” heart. The lesson was sobering, to say the least. My heart is never ready for God’s honesty or the honesty of loving friends when I have a “tell me what I want to hear” attitude.

The noisiness in my heart comes from Satan telling me what I want to hear and me chiming in and chattering right along. It’s very similar to those conversations I have when someone hits a raw nerve, and we both start telling each other what we want to hear. Seeking validation is easier than searching for the truth, and the resulting conversation is cacophony at it’s very best. I leave those noisy conversations having much more faith in myself as the truth fades into the background; but just as junk food leaves me hungry, so do conversations filled with what I want to hear.

A true “to be honest” is the most difficult of all conversations, and it takes my praying life to a whole new level. The truth is beautiful and will set me free, but it is a two-edged sword that cuts to the very center of my heart. La La Land is anywhere truth is avoided, and I’ve lived in many versions of it for too much of my life. Avoiding the truth keeps me from hearing, and faith is forfeited in the process. My faith depends upon hearing, and walking in God’s kingdom depends upon heeding. I cannot get to the truth unless I begin my prayers and conversations with a sincere “tbh.”

Honesty isn’t about judging, and I’m not saying that it’s up to me to tell others the truth. I do need to be honest, but God is more concerned with my hearing His truth than with my straightening out the world. Some folks feel it’s their calling to make sure they tell others what they should and should not be doing. God forbid that I do that. I’m guilty of judging far too often, and I have come to realize it’s a great indication that I’m avoiding the truth in my own life. When I find myself in those negative conversations or judging, I know it is time for a “tbh” with God.

It is vital that I say and hear the truth with love. Without love, the truth is a battering ram that knocks the breath out of me and breaks my heart. Satan uses that battering ram very well and even disguises himself as God the Smiter! I felt that smiting this morning, but God’s voice was there when the din subsided. He gently asked if those were terms I thought He would use to describe me. I knew they were not. He went on to tell me the beautiful truth that I am His daughter and He loves me. After my heart settled down, He told me the truth I needed to hear with love. Satan takes a tiny bit of truth and runs with it in his direction hoping to get me to follow along. God speaks the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, with love. Then, He picks me up, dusts me off, gives me a sweet embrace, and points me in His direction:)

Healing Words

The past week has been a horrendous one in regard to senseless deaths, and I’ve attended two funerals in two days. That’s far too many, especially when one is a young man who took his own life. The funeral today offered healing words that lifted my soul and gave me hope.

The healing power of truth told with love and forgiveness was the heart of the message this afternoon. There is nothing more powerful in all of creation. Loving in God’s kingdom involves honesty and forgiveness. We can begin doing it right now, and that is the miracle Satan hopes we forget.

Satan makes a lot of sense when he bids us to stand our ground or run and hide. He knows we love to hear that we are right and should retaliate. True forgiveness means giving up our right to be right and to retaliate. Satan will even arrange a fan club for us, but a stadium full of fans don’t bring the peace loving and forgiving as God will.

The only solace in a time of grief is extending grace and loving as Christ. God feels our grief was a beautiful part of His message today. He understands our grief as no one else can. He doesn’t want us to hide or deny it. He wants us to feel it and absorb it because it is part of who we are. Those who heal best after a tragic death are the ones who feel deeply and forgive completely.

I pray that as a nation we will feel deeply, forgive completely, and give up our right to retaliate. I don’t think we have to give up our right to bear arms, but I do think we have to think about putting assault rifles in the hands of everyone. We also must think about ways to protect our most fragile citizens. That includes our children as well as those who are mentally ill.

There are no easy answers when we cry out why, and that was part of the message today. We want to know why, but it is more important to have faith. God’s Word was very healing today, and I feel as if a burden has been lifted from my heart. Grief was dispersed in a beautiful way today as God’s healing words penetrated the hurt and lifted the spirit:)

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