This morning, I saw a question posed by one of my favorite Instagram accounts, storysellercomics which asked its readers to consider, “whether their brutal honesty was driven by honesty or brutality.” Thinking about this question brought back a memory from my adolescence. In High School, my friend Geoff called me Mack, short for Mack Truck. This is because when conveying my thoughts about a situation, I would just speak the unfiltered truth, not concerned how the hearer would receive my words. If what I had to say made them feel ashamed, guilty or hurt, honestly, that was their problem, not mine. Truth was worth telling. So what if it came out of my mouth like a Mack Truck going 90 miles an hour down the freeway through a construction zone?
Thinking about it, I was like this for most of my life. My mom would always say you never knew what was going to come flying out of my mouth, and she was right. Then one day, shortly after I began my with-God life, I felt like God spoke to my spirit. The conversation went something like this:
God: “*long pause* You know what? Never mind. I can’t use you.”
Me: “What? Why? What do you mean?”
God: “People leave your presence worse than when you found them. I can’t send people to you!”
Me: “I just tell them the truth!”
God: “*long pause* When you look at a scalpel, do you see a weapon?”
Me: “No…”God: “What do you see?”
Me: “An instrument of healing.”
Me: “Because a doctor uses it to remove harmful things in the body.”
God: “A scalpel is sharp, but it is an instrument used in a specific place, for a specific purpose, and leaves the rest of the body unharmed. Right now, you are merciless, and crash into people with the truth, leaving them worse off than they were before meeting you. If you want me to use you, you must be like a scalpel, yielded to the Physician.”
I did want to be used by God, and so I made the decision to yield. No longer was it important that I share the full truth of a situation as I saw it if it would only bury the hearer in self hate. Some Believers call this delivering “truth in love” but I find most people don’t know what that actually means, or twist it, saying, “I love you, so here is the real truth.”
Truth driven by Brutality destroys the hearer by elevating the message over the recipient. It causes people to hide in shame, and run from Truth Tellers. It forces people to live falsehoods because Brutal Truth will destroy them. But Jesus says that knowing Truth makes us free. Experiencing and expressing Truth the way our good Father conveys it brings healing by cutting out the cancerous places in our spirit, brings joy in affirming who we really are as opposed to who we believe we should be, and freedom from the things that would bind us into tight spaces when He designed us to flourish.