Radical: Honesty Part 1

Let’s keep thinking about the standard of being a real disciple of Jesus requires us to be radical.  How many of you remember the latter half of 1999?  If you had email, you would certainly remember 1999.  My email box was full of warnings that my computer would crash, than ATMs would fail.  That airport radar systems would fail and planes would crash.  I had many offering to sell me a special program to save my computer.  I had emails that told me to buy enough water and non-perishable food to last at least 6 weeks because commerce would come to a stand still.  Oh, and get out all my cash from the bank by December 31 or I wouldn’t be able to get it for weeks.  I woke up on that Saturday morning and nothing crashed, nothing failed; life went on.

Some may argue in their defense:  “They thought at the time they were telling the truth.”  However, it can also be argued that this is no excuse.  If you lead someone astray, it is no consolation to say, “Well, I thought I was right at the time.”  That doesn’t get anyone off the hook.  As believers, it is our responsibility to speak the truth when we know the truth, and to remain silent when we are not sure.

Have you ever known someone who loves to be the bearer of bad news?  I certainly have.  They seem to relish in telling someone who they didn’t get hired, that they were fired, that they didn’t get the loan.  They love telling people bad news.  I’ve also met people from time to time who believe it is their responsibility to tell everyone else everything they’re doing wrong.  Some people simply believe they have God’s insight on every situation, and they are doing the world an injustice if they don’t verbalize every negative thought that comes into their head.

There is a balance we must achieve.  As believers, we are called to speak the truth—even when it hurts.  But there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it.  Earlier I mentioned the fact that we have to tell the truth about sin.  But remember, it’s not enough to talk about sin.  We also have to tell the truth about repentance and we have to tell the truth about forgiveness.

We are called to live lives of radical honesty.  This means that we have to be willing to tell the truth even when it hurts, but when it comes to living a life of radical honesty, we must proceed with caution.

Look at a story in 1 Samuel 3 about a young man named Samuel.  Samuel was an apprentice to Eli, a priest who served in the Tabernacle.  Samuel had a good heart and a strong desire to serve God.  His mother Hannah had prayed to God for a son, and if God would give her a son, she would dedicate that boy to God’s service.  And at the appropriate time, she sent Samuel to live with Eli at the Tabernacle.  But Eli had two sons who were also priests, but they had no desire to serve God.  Eli knew about his sons contemptible behavior, and he nagged at them a little bit, but he didn’t do anything about it.

The Lord began to speak to Samuel about judgment against Eli and his sons.  This was a difficult message for Samuel to hear.  Eli was his boss and mentor.  Samuel had lived his life in the Tabernacle; Eli was like a father to him.  The Bible says Samuel was afraid to tell the Eli the vision, which is understandable, but the next day Eli called him and asked, “What was it the Lord said to you?”  Apparently Samuel hesitated to answer, because Eli said, “Tell me everything.  And may God strike you and even kill you if you hide anything from me!”  So Samuel told him everything.  Even though Eli had been disobedient, he was a man of God, and he recognized God’s judgment.  He said in vs. 18:  Let him do what He thinks best.

I want us to take a closer look at this story, because the events in Samuel’s life demonstrate how we can learn to live a life of Radical Honesty.  Being radically honest requires three things.  And let’s look at them next time.

And remember, love God with all your heart.  Love others the way Jesus loves you.  And make sure all the glory goes to Him!