In this the final installment of looking at some of the key attributes of love, today I would like to discuss honesty. Honesty is the foundation of love; if we are not honest, then our love is not genuine. If our love is not genuine then we fail another test of love, that of integrity. A lack of integrity will inhibit us from demonstrating any of the other aspects of love we’ve discussed. All of the facets of love are intertwined and wrapped around the core of honesty. If we are not honest, then we are not trustworthy. Without trust, there can be no love. If we didn’t trust that God was who He said He was, and that everything He says is true, then we would be hard pressed to love Him. The same is true for our earthly relationships. Love requires trust, and trust is built on honesty.
Being honest means we will model consistency in our words and actions. We will do what we say we will do, and practice what we preach. This is closely tied to integrity, and it speaks of being honest with yourself. If you cannot be honest with yourself, you will not be able to be honest with anyone else. When we demonstrate a willingness to be true to our own ideals, we will be seen as someone who can be trusted to follow through on what we say to others. If we tell a person who is hungry that we are sorry for his plight and yet don’t feed them, we are not being honest. If we instead go and buy them some food or invite them over for a meal, we are being consistent and in this way demonstrate that we truly do love and care for them. It’s a simple matter of honesty.
An honest person keeps their word. The Bible says that our “yes should be yes”, meaning that if we say one thing, we will not do another. If we love someone, we will keep any promise we make to them. Love does not say one thing and then do the opposite. If you are married, you promised to cherish and be faithful to your spouse through sickness and health, triumph and trial. We refer to promises such as these as “sacred vows”, but every promise we make is sacred. Every time we give our word, our honesty is on the line. When our honesty is questioned, our love will be ineffective. Be careful to always follow through on what you say you will do.
Being honest involves admitting our mistakes and accepting responsibility for them. An honest person will not attempt to cover up something when they are in the wrong. Many people feel it is acceptable to tell a few “white lies” here and there. Every so-called “white lie” builds on the last and generates a snowball effect; they create momentum, are hard to stop, and they will bury you. When you love someone you will not attempt to deceive them in any way. Be true to your calling as a servant of God and realize He accepts you just as you are. You do not need to cover up your shortcomings or failures. Simply being authentic in who you are and in your love for others is more than enough. People respond to that kind of character and you will find yourself far more effective when dealing with others. Resolve today to always be honest with those you love and to not engage in deception of any kind. True love does not look to deceive but rather seeks transparency in all its interactions.
In modern society, honesty seems to have been pushed to the back of our consciousness. So much emphasis has been placed on “getting ahead” that we often leave a trail of destruction in our wake. We tell small lies to cover our mistakes or invent stories to make us look better in a given situation, all to the detriment of authentic love and relationship. Those in need around the world have already been repeatedly let down by self-seeking individuals who were more interested in a photo opportunity than they were in making a long term difference. True love is in it for the long haul.
Love does not hide but rather parades itself as the finest gift. Be honest with yourself and others; engage with your spouse, your family and the world at large with authenticity and follow through on what you say you will do. By loving honestly, we beautifully reflect the love of Christ and bring much needed light to a world accustomed to darkness. Love unconditionally for the glory of God; love deeply and love honestly. This is the love that looks like Jesus, and for this you were created. Be an ambassador of love, a brilliant reflection of Christ.