The first “T” is truth. All relationships require truth for them to be successful. The healthiest relationships begin with the truth. If your marriage has lies and deceit, it won’t survive. If your friendship began based on a half-truth, it will be very difficult to maintain when the whole truth comes out. Finally, if you don’t truthfully represent yourself at home, at work, and at play, irreparable damage will occur and relationships will be lost.
What are your relationships based on? Whole-truths and real representations of who you are or something else?
I have a friend named Russ who lives in California, we met in the dorms at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo over 15 years ago and quickly established a friendship. The strange thing about Russ and I is we don’t have a lot in common. He is a nuclear engineer by trade, very handy, a genius in all senses of the word, he is very social and excels at connecting with people and finding common ground.
By contrast, I hate math and wouldn’t stand a chance in the field of engineering, my version of being handy is putting together IKEA furniture, not building a pneumatic suspension system for cars, finally I’m much more of an introvert than an extrovert. Why have Russ and I been able to maintain a relationship for the last 15 years, be the best man in each other’s weddings, and remain close friends when we live 1100 miles apart? The short answer, our friendship is based on truth.
Even with two people who are so different in personality and abilities, when the friendship is based on truth there is an incredible bond that is established, one that survives distance and differences.
Russ and I got to know each other through a Bible study, we studied God’s word together and began to hold each other accountable to living our lives based on the things we were learning in the Bible (truth), being real with each other, and not hiding the ugly side but humbly exposing our faults, fears, and failures. We shared our struggles about life without a filter, we found common ground in sharing the truth about ourselves.
I am convinced that this is the root of our friendship and the key to its continued health. Even today, when Russ and I talk there is no deception when we discuss how we are doing, only genuine sharing and genuine concern for one another. The key through it all has been the ability to not only truthfully share our struggles, but to honestly respond to each other in truth. Even when it requires a critical word or bold statements to help each other see faults, fears, or failures.
My friendship with Russ is not perfect, but it has lasted the test of time and distance and I expect will continue to do so. Do you have a friend in your life that you can share like this with? If not, is there someone in your life you can begin to develop this type of relationship with? What does this look like practically?
Telling the Truth is Respect in its Highest Form
You cannot be truly successful without honesty and integrity, regardless of what you do. This is true for the work you do and the relationships you are in. There is a simple verse in the Bible that does a great job of summarizes the reality of truth and lies.
Let what you say be simply “yes” or “no”; anything more than this comes from evil. Matthew 5:37 (ESV)
If you want to be successful adopt this one policy, all your words and actions must be reflected by this simple truth. Another way to say it: honesty is always the best policy. But honesty is also a choice, the choice to be truthful is life changing and life supporting. The opposite is also true, lies are life changing and life destroying.
There are thousands of marriages that end in divorce for lack of truth telling, there are thousands of people who go out of business because of deceit and lies, friendships end based on half-truths, kids lose faith in their parents because of secrets and lies. There is hope though. You can choose honesty and be truly effective in this world. Yet, being honest is a struggle, but why?
Because honesty is not just a battle with yourself, it is a battle between right and wrong, good and evil. We are surrounded by dishonesty, deceit, deception every day. It is glorified in movies, television, music, you find it on the news station, YouTube, Facebook, the media in general, and of course, politics. No wonder people struggle to have integrity and to be honest and forthcoming.
If you were to be an alien observer of our culture you would discover lies are not only normal but for many, an acceptable way of life. People choose to manipulate, deceive, plagiarise and cheat because it works. For the young, this makes it so difficult to live truthfully. The Bible says, “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.” Proverbs 12:22 (NIV).
What does your truth meter look like? Do you remember the last lie you told? Have you been affected by the lies and deceit of others? Do you need to ask forgiveness because of lies you have told? The simplest way to get back to living a truthful life is to first forgive yourself and then ask for forgiveness of those you have wronged. Let your yes be yes and your no be no.
Living an honest life brings fulfillment and effectiveness. Your answers can be trusted, you have peace of mind about your actions and words, you have a reputation that people can trust, relationships improve, and you become a whole person again.