There is a simple test for dishonesty. You’ve been told to look for nonverbal cues: the other person is nervous or doesn’t blink. That stuff. You’ve even been told how to catch a lie in an email. But I’ve got a better measuring stick for dishonesty. When you are talking with someone, notice whether or not their sharing builds intimacy.
Honesty requires intimacy.
Intimacy isn’t really an option. Honest people share of themselves. They let you in. They open the door that protects their heart and say have a look around!
Dishonesty is protective. It pushes people away and locks the door. It demands that only certain people get to see the “real” you.
This is the reason Jesus directs His followers to be open and to share with one another. The reason they were to be vulnerable to strangers and were to risk their ritual purity. And why, after the Ascension, they continued to gather, holding their lives and work in common. Why they worried less about their individual success, and more about sharing in abundant joy. Intimacy is honesty.
For me, the question isn’t about whether a person is in the midst of a lie or if I can claim that they are “a person who lies”. The question is whether they even know what trust is. Do they even know what honesty and integrity look like?
For us, there is a truly powerful image from the early church. The followers of Jesus would gather together, and in the midst of worship, they would forgive one another, and share in the “kiss of peace,” kissing one another and hiding nothing from one another. Most of us, on the other hand, have trouble even shaking hands with the few people around us.
There is no question which group is more intimate: and honest.
How can we build intimacy in a world that so clearly rejects the very idea? How do you build intimacy into your relationships?