Truth and Honesty

So, I’ve mentioned before that I don’t post comments on this blog, but I welcome people to send them to me. On my last post I received the following comment from fatgirlsblog:

I think your on the right track by admitting your not attracted to the lady. If I may make a suggestion…be truthful and tell her. That will hurt her “a little” instead of a lot later.
Great honest post. :-)

First of all, I want to thank you for the comment, the advice, and the encouragement. I plan to be honest with her. Tactful, but honest. I am hoping that she feels the same way. That will make everything much easier. However, whether she does or not, I think she’ll be better off if I’m honest with her, so that’s what I plan to do.

I’ve mentioned before that I struggle with my view of women, largely because the majority of women in my life haven’t been truthful with me. So, much as it’s difficult to risk hurting someone, I believe strongly in honesty and openness at an level of a relationship, whether it’s only a friendship, a burgeoning romance, or a full-on romantic relationship. I think that’s it for me today, but I did want to make sure that I responded to that particular comment.

Speak the Truth in Love

I haven’t met many people who are particularly good at this. I know people who are good at speaking the truth, but it often doesn’t come across as loving, and I know people who are good at loving, but they don’t generally rise to the challenge of telling people the hard things. I tend to fall into the former category. I’m good at confrontation, good at telling people what is true, but I often have to work at the loving part of it. I’m good at loving people that I like, but then.. that’s generally pretty easy for almost all of us. People that I don’t like, I have to work hard to love them, and I can’t honestly say that I always succeed. However, I do have an excellent example in my pastor. He is a man who can speak the truth in love on a consistent basis.

I’ve found that people who are good at loving others don’t like to speak the truth, because it hurts, and people who are good at speaking the truth don’t like loving others, because it hurts. Something that I see continually throughout Christ’s ministry is the combination of an unending desire to see all men come to him, and an unyielding willingness to let them walk away if they are not ready. I have yet to figure out how to combine these two qualities without wanting to kill myself from the sheer grief and stress that they cause, which (of course) makes my estimation of Christ skyrocket. He was, and is, the almighty God in the flesh, and I can’t live up to that, much as I might like to.

My pastor is one who does an amazing job of speaking the truth in love. Don’t get me wrong, people will still get upset with you if you speak the truth in love, but the difference is that they won’t have an actual reason to get upset with you. We all tend to get frustrated when someone disagrees with our point of view, tells us that we’re in the wrong, or that we can’t have what we want. I know I do. I get frustrated when someone tells me that I can’t have what I want, and when I’m told I’m in the wrong I’ll often argue my point ad nausem. However, eventually, I usually get it. Eventually. If people stick around that long. I suppose that’s one good test of a true friend: are they willing to be your friend when you’re wrong, and they know you’re wrong?

So, a little good news to share: I got into a medical study that is going to pay me a LOT of money (around $2000) for very little work. I’m pretty excited about this because it will actually put me in striking distance of having my credit card completely paid off by next spring (possibly by Christmas if I wind up getting a lot of classes). It’s honestly hard to explain exactly how excited I am by this. I’ve been in debt for a pretty long time, and getting my card paid off won’t get me out of debt (student loans are kicking my tail), but it will get me closer, and it will be very good for me. I’m starting to create (or God is starting to create) noticable change in my life, and it’s not just this. I find that I’ve been happy lately, not just happy about circumstances, but just… joyful. I’ve had moments in which I feel like I can fully understand Plato’s eudaimonia, and that is a wonderful thing.

There is also a young woman of whom I’m rather fond… I’m not really ready to talk about her yet, because there is (at the moment at least) still a very good chance that we’ll wind up being nothing more than friends. I have no idea if she returns my feelings in any way, or if she’s even realized that I have feelings at all, but I suppose I’ll find out eventually. I am doing everything I can to leave this in the hands of God. We’ll see what he decides to do with it.

Blindness

We all tend to be blind to important things. Sometimes we realize that we’re blinding ourselves, and sometimes we don’t, but we still blind ourselves. We generally see the things we want to see. When we don’t like someone, then we see all of the things that we don’t like, and we don’t see any of the things that we might like. When we do like someone, then we see all of the things that we like, and we don’t see any of the things that we might not like. As I write I’m talking to a friend of mine on an instant messenger and she’s explaining to me the weird uncomfortable date she went on recently and how horrible the guy was. The thing is, she barely knows this guy. By her own admission she’s only talked to him briefly a few times, and while they don’t have much in common, she’s listing out to me all of the things that are wrong with him and why he’s a weak, worthless person.

The thing is we all do this, especially when someone we don’t particularly like does like us. Instead of seeing them for who they are, we see everything that we don’t like. Sometimes we even see things that we don’t like about other people, even though they are completely untrue of the person that we’re talking about. I did this with a friend not too long ago. She wasn’t even someone I disliked, just someone I wasn’t romantically interested in. Though she was the first girl to actually pursue me in a very long time. I made it clear to her early on that I wasn’t interested in anything romantic, but she was still hung-up on me for almost a year.

The thing is, she really is a very sweet girl who deeply cared about me, and I almost blinded myself to that. I saw every annoying facet of her infatuation, and slowly lost sight of every positive aspect of her character until I was simply constantly annoyed with her. I realized what I was doing in time to avoid doing anything stupid and hurtful, thankfully, but the thing is that I was doing it. I only let myself see one aspect of her being, and that easily could have cost me a close friend.

I’m not really a huge fan of The Song of Ice and Fire, but I enjoy the novels. The stories are good and the characters are interesting, thoroughly worth reading, though they’ll never make it into my top suggested novels. However, there is one character (though he only appears for a short while in the first novel A Game of Thrones) that I absolutely love. The character’s name is Syrio Forel, and he is a swordmaster and brave from a foreign land who is hired to teach swordsmanship to one of the main characters. One of the first lessons that he teaches her is to see truly. That is to say that one should not be mislead by appearances, expectations, or prejudices, but that one should see truly and judge honestly.

This is a very difficult thing to do, and honestly the older I get and the more I try, the more I realize how hard it actually it. We are all weighed down by our experiences, our expectations, the things that we have been taught, and the things that we have learned (which are often quite different). To see through all of that, along with the masks that people throw up to protect themselves, and the hundred thousand different opinions about everyone is a daunting task. Yet, if we are to be true, then we must learn to see truly. Otherwise we inevitably become lost in our own perceptions and suspicions and we wind up hurting people that we should be loving. Honestly, I think the Psalmist had it right when he said ‘there is no-one good, no not one’.