Relaymedia

Protesting too Much

I recently heard a man trying to convince his acquaintances how honest he was, which reminded me of the time I heard another man arguing about how humble he was.
Apr 18, 2007 04:30 PM EDT

BY Richard Innes

"He who hides his hatred has lying lips."1

As Robert Edwards said, "Don't place too much confidence in the man who boasts of being honest as the day is long. Wait until you meet him at night."

I recently heard a man trying to convince his acquaintances how honest he was, which reminded me of the time I heard another man arguing about how humble he was.

When I hear statements like this I can't help but think, "If I have to convince you I'm a gentleman, you can be pretty sure that I'm not. If I have to tell you how humble I am, already I've lost it. And if I have to repeatedly tell you I'm being honest, it's probably a good sign that I'm not. As William Shakespeare so eloquently put it: "The lady doth protest too much, methinks."

I don't have to talk to lie. I can do it through my body language and facial expressions. I can lie by smiling or being saccharine sweet when I'm angry, by laughing when I'm hurting or sad, by being aggressive when I'm afraid, and so on. I can lie just through my tone of voice, or by pretending that I'm feeling or thinking something that I'm not.

Friends who don't speak the truth cannot be trusted. You can't feel safe or comfortable in their company. You'll never know where they stand or where you stand with them.

As the Apostle Paul encouraged us: "We will lovingly follow the truth at all times-speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly—and so become more and more in every way like Christ who is the head of the body."2

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to be open-faced, genuine, authentic, and real—always—and be like Jesus in all my relationships. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus' name. Amen."

1. Proverbs 10:18.

2. Ephesians 4:15 (TLB).

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