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Why Honesty is Tricky for Pastors

I have found honesty to be a tricky, thorny issue as a pastor.

As a general rule, I tell the truth, but I am increasingly convinced that people don’t want the WHOLE TRUTH.  People say they love transparent pastors, but they don’t quite mean transparent – they mean transparent-ish.

Sometimes my wife and I yell at each other. We have done it for 13 years since we were teenagers.  We’re not going to stop.  We just love each other so much and know we’re never leaving each other that we sometimes let it all hang out.  Folks aren’t ready for that.

I often have VERY DIRECT bits of advice and insight that I want to give particular people, but they would angrily leave the church if I was completely honest with them about their problems.  Most people don’t want complete honesty, they normally just want me to listen and tell them they’re right.

Sometimes I want to stare people in the face and tell them that I think they are insanely crazy lunatics (because they are), but instead I say something like, “You are having a tough time in life aren’t you?  Let’s try to find a way out of this maze together.”  The two aren’t the same thing.

Honesty with grace is still honesty, but it’s tricky.

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shaun@churchleaders.com'
A techie-humanitarian, Shaun King is widely regarded as one of today’s leading voices on how social media and a little bit of courage can make our world a radically better place. He speaks a message of hope and action over 150 times a year, has appeared in dozens of national press outlets, and is the founder of TwitChange, aHomeInHaiti, and Courageous Church in Atlanta, GA.