October 12 I Tuesday
“When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, He said of him, ‘Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.’” —John 1:47
One of Jesus’s twelve disciples was a man named Nathanael. Philip, another one of Jesus’s disciples, was the one who told Nathanael about Jesus, saying, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael then comments to Philip, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” To which Philip replies, “Come and see.” When Jesus sees Philip and Nathanael approach Him, He says, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit” (John 1:45-47).
As we revisit the above dialogue, what Jesus said about Nathanael was a nice comment. To say there is no deceit, nothing false in Nathanael, that he is an honest man. But what caused Jesus to make such a comment? It stemmed from Nathanael’s remark about Nazareth. What Nathanael said was not the sort of recommended response that one makes when being introduced to somebody. It is like meeting someone and they say, “This is Fred, and he comes from Toronto” and we respond, “Toronto! Man, I pity you. Does anything good ever come out of Toronto?” Fred would not only find us rude, but he may not want to be our friend. Jesus, however, saw Nathanael’s honesty, as Nazareth was a town that was not high on the rating scales, and appreciated him.
Sadly, in our present-day culture, honesty is no longer a big value—correctness is. Many of us may never say what Nathanael said, since it is not politically correct. To be “politically correct” is to speak very carefully, so there is no possibility of what we are saying to imply any criticism or offense, or to exclude or marginalize particular people or groups of people. For example, “humankind” is now used instead of “mankind” because “mankind” seems to reinforce the male species as being dominant. But this view could extend to pretending that things are not the way they really are, such as saying “Happy Holidays!” because we are not supposed to acknowledge it is Christmas if we want to be politically correct with everyone.
In contrast to being politically correct, there is a refreshing honesty in Scripture. The great thing about being honest is that when we are honest about other things, we are likely honest about ourselves. When we are politically correct about other things, we probably start deceiving ourselves about ourselves. One of the ingredients in the Christian life is a brutal honesty about ourselves, which can be painful. Yet, we get to learn to be honest with God and with each other. May we speak the truth in love, which is actually a kindness, to ourselves and to one another.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, with You there is no politically correct, only honesty. Help me to be honest with You, others and myself. Teach me to speak the truth in love. Thank You, Father.