Our pastor a few years back taught on Ephesians 4:15. It discusses how when we correct each other the truth needs to be spoken in love. With the desire to restore and support the other person. It’s not from a “holier than thou” position, but to come alongside and uphold and help them. Recently I’ve started realizing it’s so much more than that.
One of the things I tell my kids is I want brutal honesty from them. What I mean by this is I don’t want them telling me what I want to hear. What they think will make me happy. I want to know the real them. Even if that means it’s hard to hear. Brutal honesty is hard to say and hard to hear. But if they aren’t brutally honest with me, how can I truly know them? Can I truly love someone I don’t know?
Jason and I were recently discussing our marriage. I thought I loved him when I married him, and I did. But in comparison to my love for him today, it was a mere shadow of what love could be. The main reason for that I believe is due to the fact he really didn’t know me. He knew a part of me, a distorted version of me. Like looking through a frosted glass door. The general image was correct but there was so much more that he didn’t know. Over the years as I have let my guard down, as we have walked through trials, joyous occasions, the day to day mundane, raising of kids, moving, career changes, the frosted glass has slowly disappeared and eventually been removed completely. As scary as that was, I’ve learned that real love cannot exist without truth. Until I was willing to show Jason the undistorted image of me, I could not truly accept his love. He could give it willingly all day long every day, but I saw it through the same frosted glass I was holding on to. I saw it as love based on what I was showing him, not on who I really was. To be loved in the midst of our mess, in the midst of our brutal honesty, is really the only true love. And once you have experienced that love you will truly realize you are free.
I think that’s what I was asking my kids for. I wanted to know them and for them to know they were loved regardless of their mess. I wanted them to trust me enough to let me into their hurt. To trust me with their hearts. And then the lightbulb moment. In scripture our relationship with God is compared to that of a marriage and a father and his children. So, if by letting my husband see the real me is when I feel the safest and most loved, wouldn’t that be true with God too? Unlike my husband, He already knows all my faults and failures, and still loves me, but if I don’t accept it am I going to be able to rest in His love? Isn’t He like the parent begging me to be brutally honest with Him so that I can feel that safety and security from being known and loved? I think so many times in Scriptures there is the surface meaning but then there is the deeper meaning too. For instance, John 8:32 “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Knowing Jesus, who is the Truth, will set you free. But so will being honest with those around you. Having no more masks and lies to hide behind is truly freeing.
1 John 3:18 “My little children, let us not love in word or tongue, but in deed and in truth.”