Thursday, July 16, 2015

Living Honestly


||"I'm a mess and so are you; we've built walls nobody can get through. Yeah, it may be hard but the best thing we could ever do ... Ever do ..."||


(If We're Honest by Francesca Battistelli)



I sit across the table from him while the others listen to another generic pop song. We started out discussing a debate ballot, but the conversation has gradually reached a different point. Though my friend already knew some of the story, even more than most people, I knew I needed to share the whole story.

For the past seven months, I'd been keeping my friends at an arms length away. After losing a friendship the summer before, I didn't want to get hurt like that again. But that night, in mid February in a hotel in Missouri, I chose to trust again.

***

Honest is one of the bravest things we can be.

We have this instinct that tells us we have to be perfect and happy all the time, or at least look that way. So we build a wall to keep our friends out, and they do the same. We build these bright walls that say "I'm fine" and "I'm happy" and "I'm perfect."

But you're not, are you?

Neither am I. Neither is anyone else who looks perfect. Jesus is the only one who has never sinned, but even He struggled with temptation. He experienced pain just like we do. He wasn't happy all the time. And He was honest (Mark 14:32-36). He cried (John 11:35). He hurt.

Honesty requires bravery because it makes us vulnerable. What if people think differently of me? What if they won't accept my brokenness? What if I'm the only one? But honesty is a beautiful, necessary thing. It's how friendships deepen and people grow. Beyond that, living honestly allows us to heal.

That night after the debate tournament, I started overcoming the pain brought by the lost friendship. I was able to forgive my former friend, and trust my current friend. That doesn't mean that pain is gone forever, but I don't have to listen to it anymore.

When we're honest with our struggles, other people see that and feel free to be honest as well. It's like an honesty chain. I admit I'm struggling with trust, and someone who relates to that admits a similar struggle. We're naturally influenced by the actions of others, especially our friends, so when we see other people share their brokenness, we feel free to share ours, And when we share our brokenness, we learn we are not alone.

***

As I spoke to my friend across the table, he listened patiently, never making an excuse for me or my former friend. Instead, he related to me by sharing a similar story. I was honest with him, and he was honest in return, and I thank him for that.

Living honestly requires a little bit of bravery. It's not easy, but it is healing. And that's what's up.

||"Bring you're brokenness and I'll bring mine, cause love can heal what hurt divides; and mercy's waiting on the other side ... If we're honest."||

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