Dr. James L. Snyder Ministries
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"Out to Pastor" > “Say It Ain’t So, Dear”


24 Oct 2015

Honesty is a relative thing and with my relatives, it sometimes is not even a thing.

Take Auntie, for instance. She wore such big hats, especially on Sunday, that if a breeze came by she would fly far away. Why she likes these hats, I don’t know. Maybe it’s because her relatives are not honest with her.

“How do you like my hat,” she would inquire.

Question: do I want to make her angry or sad? I think the rest of the family felt the same way. To tell the truth, it is a hard thing to do in this instance, her hats are terrible. Where she gets them, nobody really knows. Rumor has it she made those hats in her craft room in the back of her house.

I don’t know, I stay out of that room as much as possible.

“Isn’t my hat divine,” she would bustle.

I do not have the heart to tell her how awful that hat is and how silly it makes her look. Therefore, I cave in to relative dishonesty, “That hat makes you look wonderful, Auntie,” I rejoin.

At times, I feel a little guilty about this. Is it really lying when you do not want to hurt someone’s feelings? Like when your wife says, “Does this dress make me look fat?” The husband who will answer that question truthfully will pay for it the rest of his married life.

I try to be as honest as I possibly can. I do not like dishonesty or people who tell lies. Who do you think I am, a politician?

As I think of it, maybe these politicians are looking at me as if I was Auntie and not wanting to hurt my feelings. All I can say is, I have no feelings for any of these politicians so just tell me the truth.

I can well remember back in the good old days &the old family picnics, when all the relatives would get together on a Saturday for a picnic. What a good time that was the end what good memories I have today.

At these family picnics was good old Uncle Fred, who had more stories to tell than any man could actually live. If he started one of his fishing stories that was the end of the day.

I am not sure if old Uncle Fred was consciously lying or if he was dreaming out loud. That is a distinct possibility. Maybe when he was talking about his fishing days they were really dreams he had about going fishing. I can certainly understand that.

I have had so many wonderful dreams throughout my life, but the difference is, I do not tell anybody about my dreams. Some of them are just too spooky.

If Uncle Fred is referring to his dreams, I am not sure I ever want to sleep over at his house.

Between Auntie and Uncle Fred, honesty is a relatively scarce thing in our family.

At the end of one of Uncle Fred’s stories I just want to look at him and say, “Tell me it ain’t so, Uncle Fred.”

Then, it might hurt his feelings and he may never entertain us again with one of his dreamy stories. Is that really worth being honest with him?

Both Auntie and Uncle Fred are long gone. The only thing I have are memories of the stories they told. You know it’s kind of tempting to me? Retelling their stories as though they were my stories.

Now that I think about it, perhaps that is what Uncle Fred was doing. Perhaps when he was younger he heard one of his uncles tell some fishing stories and somehow through the mystery of life they became his stories.

In reflecting on both of these relatives, I am so glad that I was not so pompous as to catch them in some wee bit of dishonesty. They meant well, I am sure. They felt part of the family because Auntie loved to show off her hat and Uncle Fred loved to show off his stories.

We do not have big hats anymore for ladies, which Auntie would kinda feel out of place. And with all the emailing and texting and technology today, nobody has time to listen to Uncle Fred’s stories.

Man I miss those days. Those days before social media took over and made us all strangers.

I still have my memories, and I am wondering how I can pass them on to my children and grandchildren. If only they could have met those relatives of mine and heard those stories there would be a little bit of joy in their heart that nothing else can create.

Occasionally I think of Auntie and Uncle Fred and for some reason a smile dances across my face. I want to bring joy to my family and when they think of me long after I am gone, a smile will dance across their face.

The apostle Paul had the right attitude when he said, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things arehonest, whatsoever things arejust, whatsoever things arepure, whatsoever things arelovely, whatsoever things areof good report; if there beany virtue, and if there beany praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

I discovered that what a person thinks about reveals a lot about who they really are.