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TRUTH OR MUTE

How do you respond?

How do you respond to someone whose views you disagree with? I know there can be a big divide with religion and politics, so I am not referring to those hot topics. Do you tell the truth or remain silent if you see a friend faltering in areas such as lifestyle or relationship choices?

You may have heard the adage, “Be kind instead of right.” I didn’t use to adhere to this principle and would be brutally honest when I shared my opinion, knowing that I was right—chest puffed as I set the person straight, ha! Some of you probably have done the same…butt in a conversation to share your superior knowledge, cut people off in mid-sentence, or give a sarcastic retort.

I have since toned down my responses and now emit a silent gasp when I see someone wearing what I consider to be an inappropriate outfit, and dismiss a viewpoint I can’t relate to or agree with—groaning inside with that famous word, whatever. On some of these occasions, others responded with delight at the wonderful outfit and agreed with the opinion. So, I was glad that I didn’t give voice to my thoughts. It’s all a matter of how we each view things.

However, I am perplexed about whether to tell someone the truth if it’s painful. Some of you may say, “Give your opinion only when asked.” But, what if it’s an accident waiting to happen? We all can recall saying or being told, “I saw that coming.” And the reaction—“Why didn’t you tell me?” Well, to paraphrase Jack Nicholson, “You can’t handle the truth!”

Of course, there are some people who choose an unbecoming lifestyle or bad company, knowing very well they are not living their best lives, but they don’t care what anyone thinks. However, if you have true relationships, you shouldn’t have to walk around on tippy toes. Nor should you lie or play dumb because you don’t want to hurt the person. Everyone quivers at the dreaded words, we have to talk, and while it’s never easy discussing difficult issues, isn’t the point to improve the quality of the friendship?

If you are reading this and something is stirring in your heart, recognizing that you have made some bad choices, check yourself and be open to facing whatever it is. If you are on the other side observing someone's behavior and have to confront him or her, be kind. Think about the way you felt when someone had to tell you a home truth! At the end of the day, the relationship is more important. So in everything you say and do, earnestly pray first for guidance.

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