We’ve all been there. Someone says something tactless, crass, slanderous—or all of the above, and the justification offered is, “Hey, I’m just being honest. Am I supposed to lie?!” No doubt, some of these “honest” folks are just posturing. But some seem to genuinely confuse the act of speaking one’s mind with the act of speaking honestly.
Yes, honesty, transparency and frankness are related. They share similarities—but so do cream of tartar, flour, and borax. Confusing similar things can have dramatic consequences.
Scripture - Frankness - Openness - Honesty - Result
Scripture helps us distinguish between frankness, openness, and honesty and, as a result, better distinguish right from wrong.
Depending on how we define it, frankness undoubtedly has its place. Miriam-Webster defines “frank” as:
marked by free, forthright, and sincere expression
By this definition, frankness sounds pretty good. Who’s against forthright and sincere? But considering the matter biblically, it’s the “free” part that creates a problem. Scripture is clear that we should generally not view ourselves as “free” so say whatever we please.
Sense—speaking - None - Said—frankness - Thing - Honesty
Even in its most positive sense—speaking courageously and holding back none of what ought to be said—frankness is not the same thing as honesty. One has to do with the manner of speaking and the other has to do with the content.
“Transparency” has taken on the status of an indisputable moral good in our culture, often with positive results. Most serious people take the term to mean something like “making no effort to hide information from those genuinely entitled to it.” Sadly, though, many who use the term seem to mean “you make no effort to hide any of the information I want to get from you,” or perhaps even worse, “I make no effort to hide all the information I think you should know.”
Attitude - Term - Term - Gossip
The latter attitude is why the term “oversharing” was invented—along with the much older term, “gossip.” The...
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