From Debbie in San Francisco:
This should be easy. I support honesty. I really hate it when people aren't honest with me, especially when they tell me a partial truth, the part that supports their angle.
So, what's to learn from this maxim? I think I am honest, more or less.
But this saying kept tapping on the back wall of my mind, from the time that I first considered it. I want to be honest, I really do. But how do I know if I am being honest with myself? Scripture tells us, "The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. Who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)
If you're not being honest with yourself, you may not realize it, because you live in self-perpetuated denial. It's a vicious cycle, until the lie that you tell yourself trips up on reality in such a way that you can no longer ignore it. As we allow our hearts to be examined, we must start by acknowledging our blindness and beg God to shine his light on the dishonesties in our hearts. For myself, that's where I'll start.
As I've been asking God to show me how to be honest with myself, I've become more and more uncomfortable with a recurring area of failure, or blindness. I realize that I can't fix it up myself, because I don't have the wisdom to see what's going wrong. So, I've decided to use this area to continually submit to God, to ask for his truth and mercy. I pray that He will show me His path through what feels like a quandary, during this Lent.
I think that being honest with yourself is kind of like realizing that you must start with where you are and not jump over it. It may sound easy, but it can very uncomfortable.
The Forty Maxims
- 1. Be always with Christ and trust God in everything.
- 2. Pray, fast and do acts of mercy.
- 3. Read the Scriptures regularly.
- 4. Read good books, a little at a time.
- 5. Practice silence, inner and outer.
- 6. Cultivate communion with the saints.
- 7. Be an ordinary person, one of the human race.
- 8. Live a day, even a part of a day, at a time.
- 9. Be honest, first of all with yourself.
- 10. Be faithful in little things.
- 11. Do your work, then forget it.
- 12. Do the most difficult and painful things first.
- 13. Face reality.
- 14. Be grateful.
- 15. Be cheerful.
- 16. Be simple, hidden, quiet and small.
- 17. Never bring unnecessary attention to yourself.
- 18. Listen when people talk to you.
- 19. Be awake and attentive, fully present where you are.
- 20. Think and talk about things no more than necessary.
- 21. Speak simply, clearly, firmly, directly.
- 22. Flee imagination, fantasy, analysis.
- 23. Flee carnal things at their first appearance.
- 24. Don’t complain, grumble, murmur or whine.
- 25. Don’t seek or expect pity or praise.
- 26. Don’t compare yourself with anyone.
- 27. Don’t judge anyone for anything.
- 28. Don’t try to convince anyone of anything.
- 29. Don’t defend or justify yourself.
- 30. Be defined and bound by God, not people.
- 31. Accept criticism gracefully and test it carefully.
- 32. Give advice only when asked or when it is your duty.
- 33. Be strict with yourself.
- 34. Be merciful with yourself and others.
- 35. Do nothing for people that they can do for themselves.
- 36. Have a healthy, wholesome hobby.
- 37. Have no expectations except to be fiercely tempted to your last breath.
- 38. Endure the trial of yourself and your faults serenely, under God’s mercy.
- 39. When you fall, get up immediately and start over.
- 40. Get help when you need it, without fear or shame.