Sunday, May 30, 2010

Carefully Crafted

Words are pretty funny. This morning my daughter came into the bedroom and said, "Daddy, look at this!" and David said: "Neat-o." She looked at him funny and solemnly asked what "neat-o" meant. I was laughing pretty hard.

Words are so interesting; they can be meaningful or mundane. There are things we say so often it becomes automatic, just routine Words can instill hope and comfort and also devastate.

Words can mean so much, and yet, oftentimes so little.

Promises are easily broken.

Some things and phrases we say we really don't mean.

In an effort to be polite, we lie.

Sometimes our words are not meant to be dishonest; sometimes we really do mean "I'll pray for you" yet get busy and forget. Perhaps there are times when we intend on keeping a promise but it just won't work out well. All kinds of fairly innocent ways that words lose their meaning.

When I was growing up I attended what I considered a "big" church. It was the largest in the city it was in, prominently perched on a hill near the outlet of a freeway and along a busy section of road many traveled. It was almost an icon. Everyone in the neighboring towns knew this church. My pastor was videotaped each week and broadcast on a local channel.

When I was in jr. high there was a church member who was running for some type of local or state office. He was a politician, already involved in local government with aspirations of a national stage. My church rallied around him, encouraging others to get behind him. He was what we needed: A Christian in politics. We were called to put Christians in public office. (and this may sound judgmental but I would be very surprised if their family wasn't divorced today)

I don't remember all the details but I leaned that someone I knew, just a few years older than myself, was paid to memorize pages of a report each week and recite it to him. That way he could honestly say he had never read the document. (don't ask my why this was so important)

It has stuck with me: this idea of dishonestly being honest. A play of words. Of course, this is expected in the realm of politics. We naturally distrust most things they say, look for loopholes and carefully crafted words. But I expected more from my church, from a Christ follower.

This is complex. I know that the person was just doing things that he thought was right. He wanted to be honest with others and in his mind, that was honest, but to me it has always been misleading. Though technically correct, he was relaying one idea to others that was simply untrue.

A friend of mine posted on her Facebook page that she was not happy with things she heard the last 24 episode was going to be. Jack had gone rogue. He was killing people he did not need to kill and was no longer the hero who always did the right thing, and the greater issue: does the government do wrong things and give up integrity for the "good of the people"?

A different subject perhaps, but I do wonder about all the little things I say that are intentionally worded to be encouraging yet don't always convey what is actually true in entirety. In an effort to protect and help someone I word things carefully to be honest yet I often wonder: Am I being honest?

I know in my life I want to believe people's words, not look for loopholes. I want to trust them, not figure out ways in which they are honestly being dishonest. I want to be able to take a word of encouragement at face value instead of turning it over and discounting it.

Can it be better and more helpful at times to be dishonest? Is honesty always the best policy?

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