A Kiss on the Lips
- Friday, October 17, 2003
Rebecca and Steve, very much in love, had been married only a few weeks when she cooked eggplant lasagna. She asked Steve if he liked it. Steve knew Rebecca had worked hard to make it and was afraid that he would offend her if he was honest. "Oh yes," he told Rebecca, "it's great." But he hated it.
Believing that Steve really liked it, Rebecca began cooking the dish quite regularly. Since she had difficulty breaking down the recipe, there was always a great quantity of leftovers, so the lasagna appeared many times during the week.
Finally Steve couldn't bear it any longer and, in a moment of anger, he confessed that he hated her cooking, that it gagged him, that he never wanted to see that eggplant lasagna on his table again! Rebecca was shocked and hurt. He had lied to her. In tears she said, "I'll never believe you again!"
The tragedy of most seemingly insignificant experiences of deception is that they grow and, ultimately, cast a shadow of distrust over a relationship. That's why Solomon wrote, "An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips" (Prov. 24:26).
Soul mates must have integrity. Without it, scripture says, we will be despised and destroyed (see Ps. 5:6, 63:11, 101:7; Prov. 11:3, 12:8, 19:1; rev. 21:8). Integrity means telling the truth, keeping our promises, doing what we said we would do, choosing to be accountable, and taking as our motto semper fidelis-the promise to be always faithful.
"If I always tell the truth," you may be saying, "won't I hurt my partner's feelings?" No. Truth is "brutal" only when it is a partial truth or when it is meant to cause pain. When Paul wrote to the church he founded in Thessalonica (Acts 17:1-9) he said, "For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts" (1 Thess. 2:3-4). That is the key to "speaking the truth in love" (Eph. 4:15)-not to trick or manipulate, but to love our spouse and to please God.
Honesty, as a popular song says, is such a lonely word. At times it does seem that everyone is so untrue. And it's been that way for a long time. Consider these verses: "All men are liars" (Ps. 116:11) and "Friend deceives friend, and no one speaks the truth" (Jer 9:5). The book of Proverbs asks, "Many a man who claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?" (20:6). The gift of integrity is so rare. But don't your relationships deserve it?
So speak the truth in love and kiss your partner on the lips with honesty. He or she will say with the psalmist, "The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold" (119:72).
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