Today we would use the words “transparency”, “vulnerability” and “honesty” to describe deep friendship. Transparency, vulnerability, and honesty are the foundations of any true Christian friendship. Loving relationships require honesty.
Here’s a thought: you cannot love someone you do not know! We have a word for the feeling that happens after you think you have gotten to know someone only to find out they were faking their thoughts and feelings and reactions to you. The word is “disillusioned!” It is both a feeling and a fact. The fact is that you were deceived, you were given an illusion of who that person was, and you found out it was false. The feeling is one of being abused, tricked and violated.
Nothing destroys a relationship faster than dishonesty. You can put up with a lot but when you no longer believe the person, the relationship is over. Even when you are hearing what you want to hear, “I am sorry” or “I love you”, if you don’t believe their words it is worse than not hearing them at all. Think about it; in the world of relationships a pleasant lie is more destructive than an unpleasant truth.
Dishonestly is not merely dangerous to a relationship, it is its opposite.
A good application question to ask ourselves at this point is; what stands in the way of deep honest friendships? Here is one answer from the book of Romans which we just finished studying:
“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” Romans 12:3
Most of the time when we read this verse we take it as a warning against pride, and it is. To think of ourselves more highly than we should is usually an indication of pride. BUT NOT ALWAYS. Sometimes we engage in self-deception when we think of ourselves. We often do this out of a desire to be loved and lovable. Paul counsels us to think of ourselves with “sober judgment”. What this term means is that we should use reason to arrive at a very realistic understanding of ourselves – a true and balanced understanding. Is this the way we usually see ourselves? I think not. Let me illustrate how we usually arrive at our self-understanding.
Check back in a few days for the rest of the sermon