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How To Have An Honest Talk

honestyIf you want to have a close relationship with someone there’s going to come a time when you have to have an honest talk with them about something you don’t like about your relationship.  That’s because you can’t have intimacy in your relationship if you don’t have honesty.

Proverbs 24:26 An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips. (NIV)

Honesty and intimacy always go together.  The problem is, having an honest talk with someone is scary so a lot of times we either don’t say anything at all or we end up saying something dishonest.

For instance, we might be dishonest with our close friend or family member because we don’t want to hurt their feelings.   Or we don’t have an honest talk with our husband or wife because we think it might lead to an argument.  Or, we don’t have an honest talk with our boss  because we’re afraid we might get fired.  Or we don’t have an honest talk with our kids because we’re afraid they won’t love us anymore.

So instead we say to ourselves, “Someday when the time is right, I’ll have an honest talk with them.”  The problem is the time is never more right than right now.  It doesn’t get easier to have that honest talk tomorrow, next week or next month.  The longer you put it off, the more difficult it becomes.  The longer you wait, the bigger the problem gets.

So you have to have that honest talk now.  How do you do that?  Every honest talk involves three things.

First, an honest talk is TRUTHFUL.

Leviticus 19:11b …Do not lie. (NIV)

That’s from God’s big ten.  It’s right up there with “Do not murder and Do not commit adultery.”  Lies do not improve your relationship they kill it!

In the Mission Impossible movies with Tom Cruse nobody trusts anyone and everyone is lying to each other because they’re secret agents.  Some of you have a secret agent relationship with your husband, wife, children or friend.

If you’re not being truthful in your relationships they’re not going to last.  Dishonesty and lies will hurt and kill your relationships.  I’m not saying being truthful and having an honest talk doesn’t hurt because it does or that it’s going to be easy, because it’s not.  But an honest talk is more than just being truthful.

Second, an honest talk is THOUGHTFUL.

Ephesians 4:15 …speak the truth in love… (NLT)

Some people speak the truth, but they don’t speak it in love.  Some people use the truth like a missile, they don’t just tell you the truth, they fire it at you!  The truth might hurt, but it doesn’t have to maim, kill and destroy someone!  So, if you want to have a close relationship you have to be truthful, but also thoughtful.

Being thoughtful means you think through what you’re going to say before you say it.  You think, “How am I going to say this in a loving way?”

On the other hand, being thoughtful doesn’t mean you have to sugar coat what you say so much that the person misses what you mean. So an honest talk is more than just being truthful or thoughtful.

Third, an honest talk also is TRANSPARENT.  That means you need to be clear in what you say.

Matthew 5:37 Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. (NIV)

How many of you have had one of those conversations where the other person is speaking to you and afterwards you think, “I have no idea what they’re talking about?”  If it’s important enough to talk about, it’s important enough to be clear about because honesty demands clarity.

Just because you say something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s communicated.  Communication experts say that communication has to go through at least six different levels.  There’s what you mean to say, what you actually say, what the other person hears, what the other person thinks they hear, what the other person says about what you said and what you think the other person said about what you said!  So you have to be clear!

In the old Get Smart sitcom TV series every once in awhile the Chief had something he wanted to say to Maxwell Smart so they had this goofy plastic thing called the “Cone of Silence” come down over them.  The idea was they were supposed to be able to just talk with one another, but they always ended up screaming at each other because they couldn’t hear one another!

Some of you might have a cone of silence over your relationship.  Everybody’s yelling, but nobody’s hearing anything.  There’s no real communication going on.

The way to lift that cone of silence from your relationship is by talking honestly with each other in a truthful, thoughtful and transparent way.

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The Bridge Church in Corona