Dare to Be Honest - Part I
"Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church."1
There was a time in my life when I thought to be liked and accepted, I had to be strong, strong like the Rock of Gibraltar. Let the storms rage, the lightning strike, the winds blast, and the seas beat violently against it, and there it stands, solid and secure.
To me, fear was weak, and anger bad, so you never showed these emotions, and, as a man, you certainly never cried or showed your hurt feelings. Through years of practice, I learned to hide many of my emotions, put on a brave front, and pretend to be something outwardly that I wasn't feeling inwardly.
The trouble with being a rock, however, is that rocks don't feel. They aren't real either, and they can't relate intimately. Neither could I. Like the first man, Adam, who feared rejection, "I, too, was afraid, so I hid myself." That is, I hid the real me.
One of the serious side effects of denying and hiding our emotions is that we deposit them in our unconscious memory bank where they build up unhealthy interest. The payoff is that we either withdraw or become defensive, touchy, hostile, non-feeling, cold and distant, or depressed. So we smile when we are angry and laugh when we are sad, and so on.
Or we act out these buried emotions through destructive behavior or physical illnesses. For example, medical science reminds us that unresolved emotions such as fear, sorrow, envy, resentment and hatred are responsible for many of our sicknesses. Estimates vary from 60 percent to nearly 100 percent.2
This is a good reason why the Bible teaches us to be open and honest and to deal with negative emotions "before the sun goes down"; that is, as quickly as possible.
How well I know it! On the positive side, however, when I learned to get in touch with deeply buried feelings of grief and cry again, I was healed of miserable hay-fever. Like, where do our tears go, when we stuff them? And when I got in touch with years of buried anger and learned to express it creatively, I was healed of painful bursitis in both shoulders. The fact is, we simply cannot improve on God's rules for relationships and for healthy and wholesome living.
Furthermore, until I learn to weep with all my heart, I will never be able to love with all my heart. This is because the walls I put around my heart to block my painful feelings, also block out my love feelings!
So God's challenge to each of us is to dare to be honest! The payoff pays great dividends—for this life and the next!
To be continued....
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you again for your Word that teaches me how to live wholesomely so that I can find inner peace, improved health, more happiness, and lasting joy. Please help me to so live. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Ephesians 4:15 (NLT).
2. S. I. McMillan, None of These Diseases, Marshall, Morgan and Scott, 1966, p. 7.