Always tell the truth as graciously as possible. We have all heard the phrase “a little white lie”. The implication is that a “white lie” is an acceptable lie, even a necessary one to spare someone’s feelings. But a lie is a lie is a lie. It’s never really okay.
I tend to be very aware of other people’s feelings and try really hard, sometimes too hard, to avoid hurting them. There was a particular time when I answered someone’s question in a way that was meant to spare the person’s feelings, yet I left the conversation feeling uneasy. In talking it out with my husband, he pointed out that I was feeling uneasy because I had lied. I had never thought of it that way and the revelation shocked me! It’s been very important to me to tell the truth and equally important not to hurt people’s feelings, but at that moment I realized that sometimes the two can fight for supremacy. In those cases the truth must win. It can be delivered in a gracious and loving way, but in order for us to be authentic we must tell the truth!
If you can't do it, say so. As we step out into new territory we are going to be asked to take on new responsibilities. It’s going to feel really good to be sought after and offered new opportunities. It is going to be tempting to say “yes” to every offer and every opportunity. In order to remain genuine you and I need to honestly evaluate each opportunity based on our actual abilities, schedule, etc. It can be really hard to say “no”. We can’t be concerned about the other person’s reaction. We need to be most concerned with being honest about our God-given capabilities and circumstances. It’s necessary in our quest to be the “real thing”.
People-pleasing causes dishonesty. This is a huge area of potential downfall for most of us, whether we realize it or not. We are often unaware when our responses are motivated by people-pleasing. We all want to be loved, appreciated, and affirmed. We want people to notice our good work, our strong character, our ability to face challenges. We will tend to tell the best about ourselves and leave out the faults. We will tend to say “yes” to people because we don’t want to make them upset with us.
In order to grow in being the “real thing”, authentic and genuine, we need to evaluate how much we are motivated by people-pleasing. The only way to overcome it is to begin to recognize it. When you get right down to the core there is really only One worth pleasing. He is more easily pleased than we think, and is most pleased when we are truthful since He is the Truth.
Don’t hesitate to be truthful with others. Be as gracious as you can. Make your goal to be authentic and genuine rather than to please people. Make your goal to please God instead. You will find it much more satisfying!