Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Honest Words are Priceless

Chuckle: "My next door neighbor told me he had been fishing every day for two weeks and was so tired out he had to take off a couple of days to go hunting."
Quote: "An honest man is the noblest work of God." --Alexander Pope

"An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips" (Proverbs 24:26 NIV). "It is an honor to receive an honest reply." (NLT). "As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend" (Proverbs 27:17 NLT).
A tried and trusted friend, whose honesty is never in doubt, is one of life's greatest treasures. When we are honest with one another, trust is developed, friendships are strengthened, and fellowship becomes warmer. True friends refine us, shape us, sharpen us, and help us become better persons. We should welcome their honest answers and edifying criticisms.
"Dr. Madison Sarratt, who taught mathematics at Vanderbilt University for many years, before giving a test would admonish his class something like this: 'Today I am giving you two examinations; one in trigonometry and the other is honesty. I hope you will pass them both. If you must fail one, fail trigonometry. There are many good people in the world who can't pass trig, but there are no good people in the world who cannot pass the examination of honesty'"
Most of us would agree that honesty is a worthy character trait; that is unless someone is being honest by criticizing us. Honest constructive criticism is not always easy to absorb gracefully. Different people react in different ways, depending on their own personalities. Here are some ways people react to criticism:
We can become angry with the one offering the constructive criticism. We can easily turn our anger and disappointment against the ones who are only being honest with the intent to be of service to us. It's easy to find fault with the one criticizing us to divert attention away from our shortcomings he has revealed.
Another possible reaction might be to internalize the criticism and let it fester until it becomes a destructive obsession. This leads to a decline in self-confidence and our sense of self-worth. This reaction won't help us deal with our weaknesses or imperfections. I think we agree this is not a healthy way to deal with honest criticism.
The third possible reaction is to take the honest criticism at face value with the intent to analyze it to see what we can learn from it that will make us better human beings. The Christian should go to the Lord in prayer and bring the criticism to Him. We should ask God to help us evaluate the criticism in light of His Word, reveal the truth about it, and teach us how to see the flaws in our character that need attention.
Yes, honesty is to be admired. But sometimes people try to soften the blow or bend the truth to avoid hurting a friend. We should remember that the one who gives us an honest, straightforward answer, or criticism, is most likely a loyal and true friend who has our best interests at heart. Such a friend is to be cherished.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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