Attaining heaven requires many sacrifices. The submission of our base desires, yielding control of our destinies, and the focus of our time and abilities are necessary in order to take up the cross of Christ (Mark 8:34). But, another serious casualty must be mentioned. It is one that is frequently overlooked due to its uncomfortable nature. Brutal honesty is required to enter heaven.
God demands that we submit ourselves to him in all areas of our lives. He knows what is best for us and will guide, protect, and nurture us as a perfect parent. Yet, in doing so, we must submit willingly to him in every way (1 Peter 5:6).
Paul wrote, “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man” (Ephesians 3:14,15, NKJV).
Submitting to God is something we must decide to do. Once the unwavering decision is made, we turn everything over to Christ and let the strength he provides arm us to fight Satan (Ephesians 6:10-20).
First, the process of conversion requires brutal honesty so that we can see our sins as debilitating. Without Christ we will die in our sins (John 8:24). We must acknowledge our sin condition and admit that without a Savior we will perish (Isaiah 59:1,2; Romans 3:23).
Repentance will be required of us as we undergo the conversion process (Luke 13:3-5). We discard all of our sins, even the cherished heirlooms of our sinful state. Parting with them will be painful. So, we must be brutally honest as we separate the righteous from the unrighteous.
Second, the process of discipleship requires brutal honesty. Emerson said, “Whatever games are played with us, we must play no games with ourselves, but deal in our privacy with the last honesty and truth.”/1 We must stare at ourselves in the mirror of Scripture and see the brutal honesty of its glare (James 1:23-25). Unflinchingly, we examine our sins and painfully excise the wounds to our souls. While these scars represent losses of will and way, they nonetheless stand as markers on the way to heaven.
“Honest hearts produce honest actions.”/2 The honesty with which we approach our sinful condition will determine the success of our endeavors. “Each time you are honest and conduct yourself with honesty, a success force will drive you toward greater success. Each time you lie, even with a little white lie, there are strong forces pushing you toward failure.”/3
Third, the condition of our personal relations requires brutal honesty. When we are in a relationship, we must be consistently evaluating ourselves. Are we being fair, patient, loving, and giving? Or, are we presenting only negative qualities? Success in our relationships means that we submit ourselves to others (Ephesians 5:21).
A man who constantly battles others needs a salient moment of brutal honesty so he can see his contributions to the failures around him. God’s call for unselfish love is the polar opposite of selfishness (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). Therefore, we must endure the difficult self-evaluation process so we can discover the flaws in our character and correct them.
Brutal honesty requires courage that few have. Most would rather succumb to the warm cocoon of self-deception where all is bliss. They can always be right and the best at everything as they wallow in their ignorance. Yet, they never grow and become the beautiful creation God has in mind. What a waste!
We Cannot be Holy until we are Humbled.