28.11.03

Tensions: The Pain of Honesty and the Gentleness of Love

This is at least partially me venting :)

Sometimes we have this idea, that we should never cause any pain with our words. As Christians we back this idea up with appeals to various verses, usually exhorting us to tell the truth in love. We interpret that to mean that we say the most we can without causing pain... of course, there really is a lot of pain involved with honesty, and so we usually end up being half honest, sacrificing the Chrisitan value of truth for what we call teh Christian value of love or gentleness. Kierkegaard draws an analogy of a man who wants to be a millionaire, he is workign towards it, but as of yet he has 2 dollars. Do we do him any favors by calling him a millionaire? If he calls himself a millionare would be correct in telling him he is at least over confident, if not outright delusional? It is certainly no slander to tell this man, if all he has is 2 dollars, that he is a bit of a poor man and a long ways from being a millionaire. It may be slander to call Bush a warmonger out for nothing but oil and blood, but it would certainly not be slander to say that as the president of the united states Bush has led his country through a war which was partly justified on lies (evidence presented to the U.N.), and which has not been completely justified based on some of the terms he himself set up (weapons of mass destruction?). The point of this is not to be political though. It is to bemoan my, and our, inability to walk the fine line of gentleness and honesty.

I have heard "slander" and said to to the person that that couldn't be right, ease up a bit, you don't need to be so harsh, it can't be all that bad. I said this with the Christian value of gentleness and "niceness" in mind. How surprising to find out that the people saying those things were already muttering half-truths due to the influence of those same values, and I called them untruths. Now I call them half truths because they were too nice. How surprising to look the rebel in the eyes and tell him that his methods would not work, not because they go to far, but because they do not go far enough.

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