Honesty: What’s love got to do with it?

Honesty has fallen so far out of favor in our culture that it sits lower than a young rapper’s jeans on his skinny frame.

Too many people now believe it is for fools who aren’t enlightened enough to understand the many nuances of truth, rubes who are too ethical to understand the devastating potential it holds, or for naive spouses who actually take their marriage vows seriously.


Long ago, I was part of a terrific team at a business.

We had developed a great rapport as a group and were able to discuss and brainstorm with a spirit of helpfulness and a goal of problem solving.

All of us were on board the truth train.

Well, almost all.

One fellow employee relished these gatherings as an opportunity to cut down the rest of us, and would invariably start her comments with, “Well, to be brutally frank. . .”

I dreaded it when Ms. Brutally Frank joined us. She was not in the conference room to help build a more productive and fulfilling workplace.

Oh, no.

She was there using honesty as a cover to do a slice and dice on each of us that was worthy of a Ginsu knife master.

Thankfully, this employee and her alter ego Ms. Frank did not last long in our positive work environment.


How do you respond to honesty in your home and workplace?

Do you welcome it as a friendly and familiar guest, so that it has an established seat at your table?

Do you greet it with an open mind and open heart, in an effort to learn and grow?

Do you swat it aside like a minor irritation?

Do you roar at its appearance, your message loud and clear, that he who values his head should think twice about being honest with you?

Or do you use it as a weapon, viewing its usefulness only in terms of the damage it can inflict and the power and control you will gather and maintain?


In the book, Love Works, author Joel Manby lists Truthfulness as one of the important principles for leadership and life.

He shares four rules to encourage honesty that are useful and applicable at work and at home.

1. Don’t shoot the messenger.

I can say from experience it is easy to be angry at the one who brings honesty to the table, whether it is a manager, your husband, or one of your children! Focus on the information, not on person sharing it.

2. Don’t confuse disagreement with conflict.

Manby makes an important distinction between disagreement—having different points of view—and conflict—where we take the disagreement personally and end up with hurt feelings. This rule takes practice, as I believe we can get very attached to and protective of our ideas. Not that I’ve ever done that. . .

3. Don’t assume people see it.

Have you ever wondered why in the world the other person can’t see what you can, because it is as plain as the nose on their face? Because they can’t. You are wired a particular way, to see things through the lens of your education, experience, and unique skills and talents. Rather than be upset others can’t see, gracefully show them your view. And be prepared to be shown perspectives you haven’t seen, too.

4. Speak now or forever hold your peace.

Create an environment that welcomes honest conversation and discussion. If you do not take the opportunity to share a concern, you also cannot club the other person with it or complain about it behind their back.


Love must be the filter through which you share honesty.

Love filters out poisonous thoughts and softens your words, making them easier to hear and digest. (Tweet this! Just click here.)

Love is also that very same filter through which you listen.

Without it, discussions can become emotional, people blame rather than problem solve, and close their hearts and minds to growth.

As difficult as it can be to create a culture of honesty in today’s world, it’s critically important and incredibly rewarding for your relationships.

Begin with yourself, and feel the wonderful and comfortable fit of the truth.


 Let your words be the genuine picture of your heart.  ~John Wesley


Question: When you are honest, how do you use love as your filter?


Sharing at NOBH, Happy Wives Club, Soli Deo Gloria

Photo used with permission of Seasons of Soul. Thanks, Elizabeth Anne!

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  1. I’m a big proponent of being honest, but have learned through the years how to do this carefully and gently. I’ve made many, many mistakes along the way in an effort to be truthful. :) It’s one of those “balancing truth and love” kinds of equations that I often fail miserably at. (I’ve never been good at math anyway! ha!) But I love your points, KIm, and am going to mull over your last one the most. There’s a situation I’m in that I’m frustrated with, but don’t know if it’s my “place” to complain or bring “honesty” to the table. I’ll have to pray about that one. Thanks again for being so thought-provoking and relevant, my friend!

    • Agreed, Beth. Sometimes even when we think we are being lovingly honest the conversations don’t go or end well. :-(
      I’ll pray for you in your quandary, my friend, and thanks for your thoughtful response!

  2. Good stuff, Kim. I’ve been in committees with some of Brutally Frank’s siblings! I love the part about “disagreeing isn’t necessarily conflict.” OR an attack on your position! That’s an important lesson, especially for leaders.
    Susan Stilwell recently posted…A Monday Pause ~ EasterMy Profile

    • Ugh, my sympathies to you, Susan, for having to bear BF’s siblings. They make life so nasty and difficult! I love those points, too. If you haven’t read Joel Manby’s book, I highly recommend it. The leadership principles he shares come out of the 1 Corinthians 13:4 verse on love. He weaves these into the stories he tells of his failed and successful leadership moments. Good stuff!

  3. #3 Is the one I can really relate to! Especially the part about being open to new perspectives. I guess I can’t be right all the time! Thanks for linking up with HWC.

    Christy Joy

    • Oh, that can be a hard one to admit to for me, Christy Joy, that I am not right all the time. However, my husband put an interesting spin on #3 the other day. He said, “Isn’t it funny that God keeps crossing our paths with folks who need the perspective we have?”

      I still get irritated when folks can’t see something that seems SO INCREDIBLY OBVIOUS, but I am getting better at seeing it as an opportunity to share my “brain binoculars” with them rather than getting upset. :-)

  4. Honesty and truth not being told in the spirit of love, rather needs to stay unsaid!
    Mia recently posted…The Empty TombMy Profile

  5. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this post and how you have partnered love and honesty together – as they should be. “Let the words be the genuine picture of your heart.” I am going to dwell on that quote all day and bookmark this post – because it’s so good. Definitely one of my favorites of yours – and that says a lot!

    • Your words are always a welcome breeze of encouragement and a warm ray of sunshine, Ilene!

      I am so glad to be able to offer you these words, especially those from John Wesley. As I searched for scripture or a quote for this post, this one from Wesley just grabbed me. If you aren’t familiar with John Wesley, he was “was the central figure of the eighteenth-century evangelical revival in Great Britain and founder of the Methodist movement”, to quote the New World Encyclopedia.

      Thanks as always for sharing your thoughts! xo

  6. Years of participating in writing groups have taught me how to appreciate and enjoy honest, yet loving critique. It’s a very delicate process, whether giving or receiving, especially when you’ve poured your heart and soul into our work.
    Connie Foster recently posted…MISUNDERSTANDINGS AND BLUEBERRIESMy Profile

    • You put that just beautifully, Connie: a very delicate process. That it is indeed! Even with the right intentions and heart, it can be temporarily painful to be on the receiving end because we so love our words. :-)

  7. Ah, yes, I grew up with someone like Ms. Frank and it is painful especially when it is done in “love” and there is no room for honest discussion and disagreement…yes, love should be the filter…prayed for you today, Kim :)
    Dolly recently posted…What is the why behind your dream?My Profile

    • Hmmm, done in “love”, but without room for honest discussion and agreement. A sad and difficult place. :-(
      Thanks for your prayers and for sharing, Dolly! You are a blessing!

  8. Wonderful wonderful post Kim. I love this “Don’t confuse disagreement with conflict” I am one of those that get over protective of their ideas and thoughts! Just this week I had to face up to my “over protectiveness”. Am work in progress for sure, :) Thanks for the reminder today.
    Ngina Otiende recently posted…The Dream MarriageMy Profile

    • I laughed with understanding about you being over protective of your thoughts and ideas. I can feel my panic and irritation rising sometimes when my family disagrees with me, and I have to work at really dialing it back to not take it personally. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts, Ngina. I really enjoyed your piece on The Dream Marriage, too!

  9. I’m pretty honest, but not to the point of being well, brutal about it. I’m of the school of thought that if I have nothing nice to say (only honest things), then I will say nothing (unless it’s life and death). With love as a filter, well, yes, then I get honest. Lovingly. :)
    Alison recently posted…Parenting TheoriesMy Profile

    • That’s a great point, Alison. If all we have to say are things that aren’t nice, I agree that being more reserved is better. All of us are works in progress, so there is never a shortage of honest feedback others could share with us about our shortcomings. :-(
      Thanks for coming by-loved your post on parenting theories, and passed it onto my pregnant daughter for moral support as she steps towards being a mom.

  10. “Love must be the filter through which you share honesty.”
    Amen to that. We can take a lot of hard truths if they’re served up in love. Love always makes it go down easier.

    • Glad you liked this! You make me think of Mary Poppins, Lisa: Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. :-)
      Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  11. It’s so much easier to handle the hard truths when we know the deliverer loves us. When God speaks to me about a discipline I need to mature in, I know His love not only wants the best for me, but He is there to help me conquer bad habits and immature responses.
    Pamela recently posted…Jordan’s Smile and Share the Shelter Link UpMy Profile

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