Stuart has provided the notes this week.
There is a self-improvement technique called “radical honesty”, the premise being that lying is the primary cause of stress so speaking bluntly will make you happier, despite how impolite or even offensive it seems to the hearer.
On first reading of this chapter you may think Joseph was an early proponent of this technique as he interprets the dreams. The cup bearer’s dream is fine it’s good news, but when he interprets the baker’s we read the same blunt directness.
But what should Joseph had said when the baker asked for the interpretation of his dream? He could have lied to save his feelings, given a half-truth (in 3 days’ time you’ve be going to see Pharaoh as well), sugared the pill (in three days’ time you’ll be free from here), but would that be right?
There are example of the Lord Jesus being very blunt with the disciples:
- “Get behind me Satan” when Peter objected to Jesus being crucified (Mark 8 v33)
- There was no sugaring the pill when he told Peter he would deny him (Mark 14 v27-31)
- He was indignant when the disciples stopped the children coming to him (Mark 10 v13-16)
- And he was direct when telling them that one of them would betray him (Matt 26 v21)
But think if he hadn’t been totally honest; Peter’s objection to the Jesus being crucified would have spread and how would Peter have felt after his denials if Jesus hadn’t warned him? Would the disciples have started applying more rules as to who could approach Jesus and would they have felt Jesus wasn’t in control if he hadn’t told them that one of them would betray him?
Jesus could be nothing but honest and what we see with Joseph is a similar honesty, the trouble with the account is that it appears he was brutally honest to the point where you wince when he tells the baker that the birds will be pecking his flesh. But we can’t tell from the narrative how Joseph passed on the information
Although the Lord Jesus was always honest we also see it was honesty in love:
“Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.” (John 13:1)
Dishonesty and love are incompatible, you don’t lie to the ones you love. Honesty without love is is destructive. Honesty with love is the Lord’s way.
Look at the example of Paul at the beginning of 2 Corinthians explain the severity of the first letter he wrote to them:
“I wrote as I did, so that when I came I would not be distressed by those who should have made me rejoice. I had confidence in all of you, that you would all share my joy. For I wrote to you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.” (2 Corinthians 2:3-4)
Let’s strive for love centred honesty