Honesty may be the best policy but it sure is hard to practice it in real time. In my family of origin we have historically embraced conflict as a form of intimacy — in the worst of ways. This has been our family legacy — one I had hoped to avoid.
Over the decades I worked pretty hard to try to stay connected with my family. I was bossy and codependent and tried to smooth over conflicts which were not mine to manage. Other times I was passive-aggressive, trying to sneak in suggestions for change in the hopes that we could establish relational equilibrium and avoid conflict. I cajoled. I bargained. I even tried to change the system. My greatest disappointment in myself are those times when I did not trust my own instincts, choosing instead to try to mitigate harm rather than addressing it openly. Innocent people were hurt in the process of me trying to avoid the breakup of a family system. None of it worked long term. My family of origin is all busted up. We sit in opposing camps and even on my best days I doubt reconciliation will occur.
Oftentimes I reflect back on my efforts to maintain relationship and wonder if those efforts were a waste of time. What seemed like a sacrifice for love now feels more like being played for a patsy. But here’s the thing — I bet if you talk to the “other side”, they feel pretty hurt too. And therein lies the problem with honesty. We are all spin doctors in our own personal soap operas. We misunderstand ourselves and one another.
In the next few posts I’m going to try to unpack a few principles that I am learning as I try to lean into this difficult disappointment. I am going to share a couple stories, poke around in some passages of scripture, and maybe make a few seemingly random points. But my end game will be to bring this all together in a way that I hope challenges the way we think about our faith in light of our daily experiences. I fear that some of what we believe is wrong and it actually tempts us to be less honest with God, ourselves and others. It also makes it less likely that we will be able to utilize our faith as a guiding light. I hope to address these issues and help sort through some of the confusion of believing things that the scriptures do not actually teach and then trying to live THAT gospel.
Do you struggle with telling yourself the truth about what you believe and how you live? Why or why not? Do you have any concerns about your own ways of relating to others and to God? How does this affect you personally? Professionally? Within your community?