"Dad, can I be honest?"
We sat with our girls attempting to forge a document that would encapsulate “The Holdridge Family Values” a couple weeks ago. One of the values was honesty and it was submitted by our youngest daughter, Taylor.
I asked her why that was important and she said, “Because we need times like this where we can be open with each other about anything.”
We agreed. “Open about anything.” Sounded great and even looked great as Kami (the resident scribe) penciled it onto a sheet of paper.
“Open about what kind of stuff exactly?” I asked expecting anything but what actually came out of Taylor’s mouth.
“Well, I’ve been thinking lately about other religions and how we’re Christians. How do we know we’re right and they’re wrong?”
Awkward silence as the girls looked at Heidi and I. I sorta looked at Heidi with a why-don’t-you-take-this-one kinda look in my eye.
You see, we like honesty as long as it fits in between the guardrails of our preconceived comfort zones. I think our kids have categories of honesty just like we do. They will answer our questions with honesty or “do-you-mean-honest, honest kind-of honesty?” So what kind of culture of honesty are we creating? Edited honesty or True honesty.
I know that I have people and environments where I’m level #1 honest. And then I have places and persons where I can be honest-honest. Level #2 honest--Like for-real honest.
As Taylor launched us into a conversation about what makes Jesus distinct and our following him distinguished, she was displaying that even in a pastor’s home you can ask questions. You can air your dirty laundry and experiment with some crazy ideas you’re having about life. Ideas that are emerging with age and experiences that demand a verdict.
I’ve learned that the people I trust the most are not people who look, talk and act holy. And by holy I mean compliant to the right actions and attitudes that give the appearance that they are pleasing God. I’m drawn to people who are humble and honest when I’m talking with them. I often wonder if a good definition of holiness is “a realization of how much I don’t know that I don’t know about God that makes my heart humble and my life honest.” No more trying to make like I got God figured out and life figured out sort-of-holiness. But the kind of holiness that says, “The closer I get to God the more I realize how little I am and know.” This results in a hungry, humble, honest creature called a Christian. A Christian you actually want to be around.
So the Holdridge Clan values honesty, even if it means calling into question the very ideas that put food on the table around here.