“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17 (NIV)
If someone says something or does something that hurts me, what is the godly response? Is it to pretend like everything is fine so I can keep the peace? Or is it to confront the person to prove how wrong they are?
I’m learning that it’s actually neither.
If ever I catch myself pretending or proving, I know I’m processing my hurt the wrong way.
The godly way is approaching this situation with soul integrity — responding in a way that’s honest but also peacemaking. James 3:17 says, “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure [honest]; then peace-loving …” Yes, I want this kind of wisdom — this soul integrity. I want to be honest and peacemaking at the same time. But how?
Just realizing this can help me make progress. After all, hurt feelings don’t often want to cooperate with holy instructions.
Not all honest expressions of my feelings can be categorized as “healthy.” You see, my honest feelings may not be truthful assessments of the situation. I can be honest with how I feel and still exaggerate or misinterpret what is factually true. I can feel justified in being blatant about my feelings and not holding anything back by thinking, “I’m just being true to myself.” But if I’m not being true to my most healed self, then I could compound everyone’s hurt.
Honesty that isn’t surrendered to truth isn’t honesty at all. It could just be emotional spewing. That’s why we need peacemaking honesty — honesty reined in by the Holy Spirit — if we’re going to have authentic soul integrity.
So, if I want real honesty, I have to ask the Holy Spirit to show me real truth. I need to see things from the other person’s perspective. I need to ask questionons with the desire to better understand instead of throwing out statements of accusation. Ultimately, my goal should be to add peacemaking to my honesty.