“It takes a woman of courage to show the world her flaws and failures.” ~ It’s Good to Be Queen
Chapter Five: It’s Good to Be Honest
As a kid, I loved watching the classic game show, “To Tell the Truth.” A panel of celebrities matched wits with three guests—two imposters and one person who was telling the truth. Each time a celeb voted for an imposter instead of the real person, the guest won $250. (Hello, 1960s.)
I’d rather not be less than truthful on national television—even in fun, even with a cash reward. First, because I blush when I tell a fib. Every time, without fail. I think it’s part of God’s plan to keep me honest. And second, He commands us to “speak the truth to each other” (Zechariah 8:16) and “not tell lies about others” (Exodus 20:16).
Dishonesty isn’t an option for believers. Honesty is how we do life and how we grow: “Speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ” (Ephesians 4:15).
Honesty is also at the heart of every healthy relationship. We start with being honest with ourselves. Then with the Lord. And then (oh, so bravely) with others.
Sheba, our role model, shows us how.
She said to the king,
“The report heard in my own country
about your achievements
and your wisdom is true.”
1 Kings 10:6
She could have stopped right there. Affirmation spoken. Enough said. Still, it wasn’t the whole truth. Being honest means holding nothing back, especially if our confession will bless the other person and glorify God.
“But I did not believe these things
until I came and saw with my own eyes.”
1 Kings 10:7
Well done, Sheba. This word “believe” also means “to confirm, support.” She admitted she could not embrace the reports about Solomon until she examined them in person. For Sheba, seeing was believing, and she was not ashamed to say so.
God was already working on Sheba’s heart, showing her the value of being transparent, so that—three thousand years later—we might see it too. Isn’t the timelessness of His Word amazing? Always relevant, always life changing.
I might have kept that second bit to myself. Just told Solomon, “Wow! Everything I heard about you is true.” But Sheba took a leap of faith. Rather than trying to impress him, she confessed how fully he had impressed her. She lowered herself to lift him higher.
This is precisely what God is asking us to do regarding His Son. “He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30), or as I first memorized it from the NASB, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Humility, then honesty. That’s His plan for us. Instead of demanding our rights, we admit our wrongs. Rather than pushing for first place, we gladly accept second place, third place, last place, grateful to have any place in His kingdom.
Each episode of “To Tell the Truth” ended with the host asking, “Will the real ________ please stand up?” A great question to ask ourselves daily when we rise from our beds: “Will the real Lizzie—Amy, Susie, Kathy, Debbie—stand up?” Will we speak the truth, even if it hurts? Will we own our past, embrace our present, and look forward to our future without denying or lying or dying inside?
Say yes, my sister.
Honesty is the path to peace, freedom, contentment, and every good thing in Jesus.
How about I answer one of our Study Guide questions, then you can respond? So glad we’re on this journey together, beloved.
From the Study Guide
2.a. Of the dozen fears that keep us from saying, “I made a mistake,” which one(s) have you wrestled with?
Lack of empathy
Loss of respect
Since this chapter is about being honest, I gotta admit, all twelve fears have gripped my heart at one time or another. Fear of abandonment rises to the top. The thought of people who know me, love me, trust me suddenly withdrawing from my life ties my stomach in a knot.
In most cases do such fears come to fruition?
Well…no. I’ve messed up big time, then confessed it to family and friends, audiences and readers, and they’ve remained supportive, year after year. And one research study on the effects of worry revealed that 85% of what we worry about turns out better than we expected.
What wisdom does this verse offer: “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe” (Proverbs 29:25).
Wow. Truth with a big T. When we put our trust in the Lord and His Word, rather than in people and their opinions, we’ll be “secure” (NRSV) and “raised high above danger” (CJB). What a comfort!
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for lifting us above our fears and helping us speak Your truth.
Now, it’s your turn
Of the fears listed above that keep us from saying, “I made a mistake,” which one(s) have you wrestled with? And how has the Lord helped you? Thanks for taking a moment to respond. Your honesty will encourage us all.
Your grateful sister, Liz
P.S. Hop over to Vimeo for my free video teaching on Chapter Five. Here’s this week’s free wallpaper for your smart phone or tablet (I’m having so much fun using these!). And Annie from Georgia let me know about an upcoming exhibit on the queen of Sheba at the Fernbank Museum. Fascinating!
You are so right about abandonment, especially with our family. We are so afraid of them turning their backs that we hold back and don’t speak the truth in love. I have a daughter that is in a Lesbian relationship. I still love her dearly, but I have trouble speaking the truth to her in love. I don’t want her to turn away from me, but she has turned away from the truth. It is hard to speak the truth when you know you might yourself get hurt by it. The whole list is definitely me! Love your insight!
Thank you so very much as always Liz for the encouragement. Your lessons are always what I need to hear on the days I need to hear it. One of my hugest sins is people pleasing and with that some of my hugest fears is all that you mentioned. So my worst fears did come true. Everything on that list happened to me when I turned from my sin and made big changes in my life. I wanted to keep my sins quiet but God had another plan. My ex boyfriend of 8 years decided to make sure everyone knew about my sins and mistakes when I ended the relationship. My story was a “scandal” to a lot of people and many people turned away from me including my family. I lived in a ton of fear and anxiety during that trial. However, there was a greater purpose in all of it. God made me face these fears to remind me that He is in control and I need to focus on pleasing Him not man. I’m in a much better place now. I won’t lie and say I don’t have some of the same fears. But I would never rewind the past and change that awful experience because it has made me a better person and caused me to develop a much stronger relationship with God. Sometimes God makes us face our biggest fears for a greater purpose-His will. Thanks again Liz!!!
I have always been a people pleaser, so to have others know that I messed up (big) was huge. I never wanted to let people know about my mess ups. I wanted them to like me and believe that I was the goody two shoes they always thought that I was. It was sooooooo hard to be vulnerable, to hear the tone of their voices say, “you did what?”
God has been ever so faithful to me, always giving me grace and humility.
Maybe they still would gossip behind my back but I knew I had been honest and most importantly, that I was forgiven by the God who loves me and gave His only Son for me.
I read you’s and the others responses, what words can I add? I fear rejection first, the other fears fall in behind! People pleasing allows that to work so efficiently in my life. I would text a lol right here, but it is not lol material . Our God will deliver us out of these snares, I know. But…I must admit my part . I do , I often want approval from family and friends, more than approval from God. I have too many examples.
Trust and safety these are the Lords gifts to those who fear Him and long for him as a deer longs for water
Wow, Liz! I’m kinda like you and have wrestled with all of them at one time or other. But what stands out most to me are criticism, judgment, and humiliation. Sorry, couldn’t pick just one. I lived in this growing up. Always humiliated & judged for my decisions, ideas, etc. I felt I was never good enough, pretty enough, thin enough, and was always compared to others so I never felt worthy enough. It caused so much depression and low self esteem in me. I raised 3 kids feeling this way, with a husband who constantly tried to build me up. Then one night, the Lord healed me and I realized, with the help of a very godly mentor, that “Truth is greater than fact!” Jesus is my Truth. And I am somebody because of Him! There is now NO condemnation! Yes, I mess up. But when I’m honest and truthful not only with Him, but with myself, I don’t have to worry about judgment, criticism or humiliation. I can move forward and move onward! Hallelujah!
I would have to say judgement is a big one for me….what you have written on the reverse of your It’s Good To Be Honest card was/is the biggest help for me….”we see only our faults; God sees only His forgiveness.”…..
I practically chant to myself that I am forgiven! I am forgiven! then my focus becomes more centered on HIM!
Fear of gloating? I like the phrase, anyway.
Thank you for this awesome post, Liz. I struggle with this and your post is helpful. One thing God has been teaching me is to open up more, I’m very introverted and when I only tell part of the story about something instead of the whole thing it can cause confusion. The Lord also convicts me that I’m not 100% honest, due to fear of people. I’m learning to not exaggerate and speak honest and it’s hard as we may hurt people’s feelings, etc. Also being honest about my past is sometimes hard. God has redeemed me of a lot, and I’ve shared in small ways, yet sometimes fearful of certain people finding out about my totally rebellious past and the darkness of it. Yet it could help people if I share, as He has pulled me out of that pit. Lord, help me not fear people, only YOU, and help me to be honest. I need help!
I had the same reaction, all of them ,I’ve had and am having struggles with , but telling the truth has always been part of me , I read somewhere my name Alice means truth but I found out I have and hopefully won’t but probably will lie in the future but I pray for the Lord to search my heart for any evil way that is in me my most recent one on the list is gossip, unfortunately I am very opinionated and just can’t keep my mouth shut and wondering how I keep my personality and honor the Lord at the same time. Aah! Pray for me ladies please!
I think fear of rejection or being judged. Amazing how God wants us to draw from His love and acceptance. I have really had to rely on that the last 2 months. I have had to remember that God is the only judge I need to worry about. Thank you, Liz for sharing. God is good! Blessings!
After reading all the comments, it does help to know you are not alone on this journey. Our honesty definitely helps others. I am a people pleaser that fears rejection and abandonment. Speaking in truth and love for the Lord is where I need to put my trust. No matter what happens He is my safe place, my Shield! As always thank you for sharing your amazing love and insight with us.
I have wrestled with judgment, lack of empathy, loss of respect, gloating, and unwanted advice. God has helped me by showing me that I struggle with these because this has been my response at times to the honesty of others, particularly if I believe them to be insincere. By humbling me in this way, God reminds me of His role as judge and mine as His ambassador. My response needs to be based on His directions, not my own thoughts, perceptions, or desires. As I respond in a way that pleases Him, I find myself less inclined to worry about the thoughts, perceptions, and desires of others when it’s my turn to confess something, recognizing my Father as my final authority.
I think all listed at some point and time in my life. Daily I ask forgiveness and strength to let the Lord change and cleanse in me the things that are not pleasing too him. More of Him and less of me. I think for me it is realizing that I can have that loving, intimate relationship with the Lord. He does want to hear our issues of life. He doesn’t want us to think we can hide them because we can’t. He wants us to come boldly and honestly before the throne and talk these things through with him ,with a willing heart to change. For me this is a daily thing.
This is gut wrenching for me.
I never thought about the “why” behind why it is so hard to admit fault. I think we’ve all experienced each reason, but the ones I identify the most are abandonment, criticism, and rejection.
If you can believe it, this is the 3rd article I’ve read today about being open, honest, upfront, and admitting fault. I think the Lord is preparing my heart for something- hence the gut wrench.
Thank you for speaking truth and reminding me of the boldness of Sheba.