Personal Honesty: Key to Effective Relationships Part I
"So he said, 'I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.'"1
There was a time in my life when I thought that to be liked, 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 as a rock and secure.
To me, fear was weak and anger bad, so you never showed these emotions, and as a man you certainly never showed your hurt feelings or cried. 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 to anyone. Neither could I. Like the first man, Adam, who feared rejection, "I, too, was afraid, so I hid myself."
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, and/or depressed.
Or we act out these buried emotions through destructive behavior or physical illnesses. 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
The point is, whenever we fail to admit our faults and talk or write out our negative feelings in creative ways, we inevitably act them out in self-destructive ways.
Dr. Cecil Osborne, author and counselor wrote, "Many persons bury feelings which they find unacceptable. For instance, one learned as a child that hate, greed, jealousy, fear and lust were 'bad.' 'You shouldn't feel that way,' is the message which the child received, verbally or otherwise. Furthermore, by a clever bit of unconscious dishonesty, one may have said to himself, 'A Christian never hates. I am a Christian, therefore I never feel hatred.' And the aggression which is part of the normal equipment of an average human being is then buried in the unconscious, only to come out in some unacceptable form, often as a physical symptom."3
Denial of emotions also acts as poison to relationships. It erects "brick walls" around the heart and suffocates love, intimacy and closeness.
To be continued ...
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please deliver me from the sin of dishonesty (denial) and help me to be honest and real with myself, others, and with you. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Genesis 3:10 (NKJV).
2. S. I. McMillan, None of These Diseases, Marshall, Morgan and Scott, 1966, p. 7.
3. Leader's Handbook, p. 32. Yokefellows Inc., Millbrae, California.