Emily Teterud – Marketing Coordinator
When I was little, I loved watching the Flintstones. Who doesn’t love them? If you haven’t, you should MEET the Flintstones—they’re the modern stone age family! (You’re welcome for hopefully getting that theme song stuck in your head. It’s a good one.) So, growing up, you’d think I’d be excited about the Flintstones vitamins my mom would accessorize my breakfast plate with each morning, right? Despite the ever-smiling Wilma or Fred staring back at me, I just couldn’t bring myself to enjoy those vitamins. Let’s be real, I think I was too scarred from the previous knock-off version we had before switching to the good stuff. Talk about trust issues.
Each morning I’d take a look at the little chalk-like Flintstone figure standing next to my cinnamon toast, and while I was excited to check what color it would be, I was equally as excited to sneak that vitamin and add it to the previous day’s collection in my jewelry box. Each day brought renewed victory as I avoided eating it, and instead triumphantly stashed the chewable in the velvety box on my dresser. That’s right… I was such a rebel. I remember a little conversation about honesty with my mom after she happened to discover the overflowing drawer of Freds and Wilmas one morning.
Honesty is the best policy, right? We are taught from an early age to be honest with people (apparently, it took me a bit longer to learn it). And yet, I think somewhere along the line we started making assumptions that being honest, if it involves confrontation, is going to offend or come across as rude or unhelpful. If our opinion differs from someone or if we need to confront someone, we don’t often resort to treating honesty as the “best policy,” because we’ve already made some assumptions about what honesty itself is and how it will affect our relationship with someone. This is a detriment to healthy relationships within families, work, and life in general! It causes us to distance ourselves, hide things, or hold on to frustration in an effort to keep peace. Really, we need to learn to maintain peace in the presence of true honesty with each other.
Do you know anyone who is blunt? You know what I mean—someone who isn’t afraid to speak his or her mind without a filter. Being blunt is being “abrupt in speech or manner.” I think there is an important difference between honesty and bluntness. Honesty means “fairness and straightforwardness of conduct” or “adherence to the facts.” So, I would argue that you can confront someone with kindness, respect, directness, and honesty, all at the same time. You can also confront someone and be rude, blunt, disrespectful, and honest at the same time. See what I mean? Honesty is not synonymous with bluntness, but I think we act like it is sometimes.
When it comes to honesty, we need to adjust our mindset a bit, especially in today’s culture of jumping to conclusions, arguments and hatred. Let’s be people who choose to live in honesty, but also live in peace. Don’t shy away from problems, don’t hide your feelings, but be discerning in your honesty.
I think it’s also important to address the receiving end. Are you someone who welcomes healthy honesty? Do you take offense the moment someone offers an idea or opinion that differs from yours? All these factors play into the success of honesty in relationships. Maybe you can let down some walls that are making others uncomfortable about being honest with you.
Let’s assume the best in each other, listen to each other, and be ready for conversation. You might find that you can learn from someone who is different from you. Regardless, we need to recognize honesty is something God calls us to. Ephesians 4:25 says,
“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.”
So, to bring this full circle, let’s not shove vitamins in our jewelry boxes. Instead, let’s be honest and open up respectful conversation when we disagree or need to confront someone. Sooner or later, the vitamins are going to spill out of the jewelry box and mom’s gonna find out!