Jul 14 2012
Most of the financial problems of the last 10 years have been tied to a single issue – greed. From company financial scandals to the sub-prime mortgage crisis to the current LIBOR rigging debacle, greed has been at the center of them all.
What they show us is not simply that greed is bad but that over-emphasizing anything is bad.
Prevalent today is the idea that disclosing all our opinions is of paramount importance. (The irony that I’m giving my opinion here on this blog isn’t lost on me). “I’m just being honest,” we tell someone after giving them a hard dose of truth. “I’m just telling you how I feel,” we innocently say after speaking our mind.
We imagine providing those disclaimers excuse us from the harsh way we’ve delivered our opinions. Too often what we term as “just honest” is “just a euphemism” that means, “I’m just about to be an a-hole.”
Do we speak truth when we’re “just honest”? Usually, yes. But we too often do it in a mean-spirited way without considering the other person’s feelings. We talk AT them – like they’re objects – instead of WITH them – like they’re people. In other words, we over-emphasize truth at the expense of kindness.
Beyond maybe anything in life, there’s a lesson we must have written on our hearts. God is kind to us every single day – even though we don’t deserve it. So should we treat anyone poorly even in the name of truth?
If we’re not persuaded by that, maybe self-interest will be convincing.
A kind man benefits himself, but a cruel man brings trouble on himself.
As unrestrained greed destroys lives so unbridled honesty is crushing and cruel – not only to others but to ourselves. Nobody likes mean people – even if they tell the truth (or, more soberly, what they THINK is truth). Desire kindness to come from your heart. If we emphasize kindness we’ll speak truth as a friend in order to benefit others, not as a judge to make them feel crappy. Kindness and empathy are the water that wash down the bitter pill of hard truth.