2000-06-13 - Candor

“...Set an example for others in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12

When we think about the character of a Christian in his or her relation to others, candor is one of those tough aspects that is necessary and, at times, a potential danger area. We ought to seek to be sincere, merciful, and kind to all in our dealings with others. Candor is part of the Christian’s conduct. It, in effect, passes judgment on the actions or words of another person.

We need to speak the truth to people. To speak with candor will sometimes mean that we say the difficult thing to someone. It is no charitable action to encourage a drunk, a fornicator, a liar, or a profane person by failing to call sin, sin. It is not love to leave them thinking that they will escape the wrath of God if they continue in wickedness. They must become new creatures and candor in speech sometimes means we must speak truth.

But we must watch over our tongue. We are to speak with charity to everyone. It is best not to speak with candor if the issue we feel may exist is not confirmed first hand. It is better for us to suspend judgment than to accuse falsely. Part of candor is discernment about when to speak and when to hold back. In all things we are to speak with love.

It is also easy to hold onto the past sins of a person and view them as they were, when they have reformed their practices. Someone who was once dishonest may have changed and we must treat them with charity even if there is a past. We cannot proclaim someone a habitual hypocrite because we have once known of some evil practice they engaged in.

We must remember, in Scripture, that those who God called His own faithful followers, like David, did not always behave as such. They were also prone to fall into sin. So evidence of repentance demands that we treat them as forgiven. “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14,15

In using candor with others we must remember that we have not always acted perfectly ourselves. We have made promises that we did not keep. We have treated others without kindness. We have often done things we should not have done. We, therefore, should feel sorrow for others who find themselves in a situation similar to those we have been in. This is another reason for charity and love in our candor. In all our dealings with others let us practice tenderness and mercy.

“A part of kindness consists in loving people more than they deserve.” Joseph Joubert

Soli Deo Gloria,