So either August has nearly passed me by too quickly or I’ve been a bit too introspective on this topic… We’ve set up this truth-telling dichotomy in the American culture: brutally honest or two-faced yellow-bellied liar.
You must “own” your faults or be ready to have them shoved in your face. And that honesty usually comes with a side of crass and an I-know-it-all smirk. Burn. Or if you’re dishing it out, you try smooth over hurt feelings with phrases like “I’m just being honest” or “it’s the truth.” But let’s be honest: you get a warm-fuzzy feeling inside when everyone else chuckles or agrees with your blunt honesty.
I think sometimes people who have a loud inner critic tearing them down maybe try to build themselves back up by lashing out at others who seem to be stronger in an area that they perceive themselves as weak.
The woman who always looks like a supermodel. Instead of thinking, I bet she didn’t spend time with her kids this morning. Thank her for her volunteer work.
That other mom puts down her phone to play with her kids. Instead of thinking, she is such a helicopter mom! Consider that she may dislike the fact that her kids are in daycare while she works and wants to spend just a few more minutes with them.
The woman chatting and laughing with a group of men. Instead of thinking, I wonder how her husband feels about that. Bring over a cup of coffee and see if you have any shared interests.
I just ate three cookies. No, that won’t help my (54-month) post-baby body. You’ve gained a little weight… Why yes I have…
Winter is coming.
It’s being honest. It’s true. But is it loving?
Paul implores us to assess our selves with sound judgment:
For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. Romans 12:3 (NASB)
If we are to love others more than ourselves (Philippians 2:2-4), then how much more lovingkindness are we to use when we think of and speak to them.
But if we do not love ourselves, how can we humbly love others more than ourselves?
So when that inner critic rants and you start asking questions like… How can I teach kids when I just had a meltdown on my own? How can I even think about encouraging another marriage when I feel like mine is on the brink? How can I claim the hope of salvation when I feel so overwhelmed by life?
Remember that, honestly, you are not qualified. (2 Corinthians 3:5)
While you are never going to be the best at everything, that’s no reason to take anyone else down a notch, not even yourself.
But remember that there is grace, and it is the only qualifier that puts all of mankind on a level playing field.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)