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In order to grow up and mature in the proper direction, we must learn to deal with truth. Learning to tell the truth can be difficult. Learning to tell the truth to ourselves can be nearly impossible!
We must learn to hear and accept it from others first. Particularly if the messages we have been telling ourselves for years are the ones that say,
- “I’m always right.”
- “People who disagree with me are always wrong.”
- “People who tell me things I don’t want to hear don’t care about me.”
(or some version of these statements)
None of the statements above is true. Each is a lie…there is no simple way to say it!
- Since none of us is GOD, we are not always right. We are fallible human creatures.
- Therefore, those who disagree with us are not ALWAYS wrong and can often be correct or partially correct in what they say.
- Even people who say things in ways we don’t appreciate, can be telling us truth we need to hear…and their motives may even be loving. So of course, the last statement is also false.
The doctor who tells me I have cancer is not my enemy. He is taking the first step toward treatment of a disease that could kill me.
He is my friend whether he tells me in a way I want to hear the information or not. Why? Because the truth he is telling me is starting me in the direction of potential healing.
The process is difficult, uncertain and often painful, but in the end, if there is hope to survive this disease, he is probably going to bring that hope.
TRUTH IS NOT VALUED HIGHLY IN OUR CULTURE
During my lifetime, I have observed a huge change in our culture. When I was young, it was very important to be a “man/woman of your word.” Truth was held in high regard.
Honest people were the ones we sought to do business with. But over time, the “white lie” became common. This is the lie that is meant to protect the person’s feelings. So instead of saying something is ugly, we say it is pretty to protect a person’s feelings.
I really think there is a middle ground! If something is ugly, we don’t have to volunteer our opinion on it. We can say something like, “It certainly is unique!” That isn’t lying. It also isn’t telling the blunt truth that in our opinion it is ugly. But the statement is true!
For some reason, the view is that people are so fragile that they can’t handle being told the truth these days, so we must go around telling all manner of “white lies” in our relationships that do no one any good! Least of all, ourselves.
LYING TO OURSELVES AND THOSE AROUND US, KEEPS US IMMATURE
When we grow up not learning to tell the truth or worse, hearing the truth, we don’t really grow up. We don’t expect the truth from others. Compliments don’t carry full weight because we don’t believe they are being honest with us. If we are in a place where those around us aren’t telling the truth, we don’t know what the truth is. Our views of the people around us are suspect. We don’t think they are genuine.
I remember when I was training to be a nurse. We worked in pediatrics in a Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. They taught us to be honest with the children. If a procedure we were going to do to a child was going to hurt, we needed to tell them. If it was a shot, it would hurt for a short time. I was surprised to see how much better children did when they were told ahead of time what to expect…ie. pain for a shot quick minute, no pain, uncomfortable, etc.
Why? Because they knew who they could trust. If I told them something wouldn’t hurt and it did, they wouldn’t believe me. But if I told them something would hurt, but not for long, they would believe me the next time when I told them another procedure wouldn’t hurt. They could relax more if they knew the staff was telling them the truth.
The same went for when their parents needed to leave, etc. Some children had never been told the truth by their parents who were used to sneaking away. Then they would panic when their parent wasn’t there anymore. They did much better when their parents told them they were going to leave and be back at a certain time or even the next day. We underestimate how well even children handle bad news when their parents tell them the truth and keep their word.
When we are adults, it is more difficult to tell ourselves the truth. How do we tell ourselves the truth that we are lazy, overindulgent of ourselves in the areas of our appetites, whatever they are, or that the problem we are trying to blame on someone else, really is our fault? Sometimes the scales can tell us the truth, but we often don’t want to listen. It is so easy to find someone nearby who is worse than we are in one of those areas and we justify our own situation. We blame-shift or rationalize…anything to avoid owning up to the truth…we are at least a large part of the problem if not the full part of it. We are the ones who need to change!
LIVING IN COMMUNITY WITH PEOPLE WHO LOVE GOD AND US
We need friends who will be honest with us. If we are married, we may have a spouse who can help, but it can be tricky. Ideally in marriage, we can find someone who knows us at our worst and still loves us. But somehow in pointing it out, unless we are mature enough to accept their counsel, we won’t grow from it.
That’s why we as individuals and as a couple, need close friends who are godly people. They will love us. On occasion, they may need to point out to us a place where they see weakness. But their love and care for us will continue as we grow in that area.
So, back to my basic premise. We must learn to love truth…particularly when it isn’t pleasant truth about ourselves. This will be a basic building block that will help me grow up…to become a more mature person…to become a parent to my children that will be the example they need as they grow up…to be the mature husband/wife and friend I need to be to those who love me…to be the person GOD is making me into…for His glory.
Ask a couple of people who know you well to tell you 5 adjectives that describe you. For a complete picture, you need more than just the positive ones. Ask your spouse.
Then watch your reactions to these people after they give you the honest feedback.
- Are you trying to talk them out of the negative things they said?
- Are you trying to change your behavior to prove them wrong?
- Are you avoiding them?
Learn to be a lover of truth.
Take what they say to GOD, especially the repetitive things and ask Him to change you…at the level of your heart…not just on the outside. Then be grateful for the positives. They are a sign that GOD is at work in your life!
PS. You may be wondering what has made me an expert on this topic. Each one of these areas I will talk about represents an area I have failed. Even now, I have times when my own immaturity takes me by surprise…showing me how immature I really am! These 31 facets have helped me grow in maturity over my life. They aren’t nice and neat. They won’t bring automatic adulthood if followed neatly. But if these perspectives increase in your life, you will find maturity starting to develop in your life by the grace of GOD.