Therefore each of you must put off falsehood
and speak truthfully to his neighbor,
for we are all members of one body.
I appreciate those who commented on the “Como Estas” post. When I first posted regarding Jim Rome’s comment that when people say, “How’s it going…..All they want to hear back from you is a ‘fine,'” I was just asking a question. But now, in Jim Rome’s language, “I do have a take” on this mentality. He is ENTIRELY correct that most people don’t want to hear anything other than ‘fine.’
But we do need to be active in changing our culture, not submitting to it. Well Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor was it destroyed in one either. You can’t really give one single date for the Fall of Rome; it had been falling for years, and the barbarian hordes ‘cashed’ in over a period of time. I don’t mind playing the role of barbarian, since the work has already been started by Christ and continued by His Church.
So to be faithful to God’s word to ‘put off falsehood’ and to ‘speak truthfully’ to our neighbors, I think we have this response to our culture: we are instructed and have the freedom to ask and answer truthfully.
Asking: I do think we ought to be careful asking people how they are doing if we don’t care for a response other than ‘fine.’ Now I don’t want to get pharisaical about it, because, “What’s up?” really does mean “hi” in many cases. Better to look at the heart behind our “How are you” questions, and I think we’ll often find a heart that doesn’t care about the person or seek truth that will help share his/her burdens.
Answering: When asked how we’re doing, we are free to answer truthfully, and say, “Terrible.” Now that is not to say that the level of truth I reveal about myself will be the same to all these people: grocery clerk, casual acquaintance, mentor, parents, pastor, wife, etc…
However, as Christians, we are not simply instructed to be honest, but we have the freedom to be so. I can say, “I’m not doing well,” and you aren’t allowed to think I’m a freak, have lapsed, or am ‘sub-Christian.’ Christ has purchased our freedom to be honest (because he has taken all accusations with him to the cross). Even as a pastor, I’m allowed to have sad, bad, or apathetic days, and tell you about them! Although as I write that statement, I realize how often I choose slavery and dishonesty as opposed to truth and freedom.