Handling The Truth

In his most recent post, Deep Strength discusses the differences between Kindness and Niceness. I find no disagreement with his explanation of both:

Kindness, of course, is a fruit of the Spirit, whereas niceness is concerned meeting a need while placating feelings.

Where I disagree is his view on how Truth and Kindness interact, as least so far as where women are concerned. As he explains it:

Women, however, tend to need more flavoring with their food. Food is Truth. Is the essence and meat of the subject. However, Truth (or meat) by itself tends to be very unpalatable to women. Thus, they need flavoring with food to make it more palatable. This is where grace comes in.

An example he uses of this in practice is this:

If a woman/wife asks if something makes her look fat and she is then…

  • the Nice answer is no, but that is a lie.

  • the Truthful answer is yes, but it is generally not graceful.

  • a Kind answer may be to decline to answer or a sarcastic answer, as a Truthful answer may not be palatable to the ears.

To begin with, I don’t see how there is really any flavoring here. To flavor something is to add something extra to make it more palatable, right? Except there is none of that going on here. Instead, the Kind answer contains no Truth, and instead dances around it. Perhaps this is simply a bad analogy, or perhaps I am missing the point. But I don’t see where this supports the argument advanced by DS.

But setting that example aside, I question whether anything but the Truth is kind. One of the major analogies used in the ‘sphere is the Hamster- that invisible rodent ever spinning on a wheel of rationalization inside the brain. The Hamster churns out rationalization after rationalization to do just what DS is talking about here- making things more palatable.

It seems to me that what he proposes is dangerous. Mixing up the Truth with something else just feeds the female Hamster. It gives women more of an opportunity to rationalize things.  This makes it more likely for the Truth to be lost in whatever mental machinations are necessary to make the woman feel better about the situation.

Now, I can agree that how one tells the Truth to women should be different to men. Perhaps different words, perhaps a different tone is needed. But the Truth stands on its own, and should so stand. Mixing it up with anything else… well, let us keep in mind these words of Saint Paul:

For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love. You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who called you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump.

(Galatians 5:5-9)

The danger is that adding something to the Truth is like leaven- it causes the whole lump to rise. In this context, it means that a little leaven changes something that was True into something else entirely.

Also, part of me questions the entire premise that women can’t handle the unvarnished Truth. I am curious if there is any Scriptural support for this notion. Perhaps 1 Peter 3 and the “weaker vessel” analogy, but that seems like quite a stretch. Frankly, I think Deep Strength is giving women less credit than they deserve. I am curious what my readers, male and female alike, have to say on the matter….

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11 Comments

Filed under Christianity, Red Pill, Sin, Temptation, Women

11 responses to “Handling The Truth

  1. Yeah, maybe that example wasn’t the best… however:

    What I was thinking of was something along the lines of “Do you really want me to answer that question?” Obviously, this communicates the Truth without saying it, which is in the line of womens’ subtle versus overt communication. You don’t actually need to say the Truth plainly for a woman to understand it.

    Although perhaps the problem is indeed infantilization and women do have the capacity to handle the Truth better. There is a lot of infatilization now in the culture seeing as how the liberals are acting after they “lost” the election.

    However, given how Jesus handles women and men in the Scripture, He does often use “harsher” language with his disciples than with women. Context is everything though. This women at the well versus Jesus mocking/frustrated about his own disciples lack of understanding at times.

  2. I agree that women aren’t less able to handle the truth than men are. It’s hard to see that these days when so many people (both women and men, mind you) are very coddled and immature and simply don’t want to hear the truth. See: “safe spaces.” Having said that, yes, we typically need to be approached differently than men when you tell us the truth about something that would be difficult for us to hear. A gentle approach will generally be more successful than a harsh approach will be, whereas men can handle the harshness much better than we can. But to dance around the truth and avoid telling it to us because you think we can’t handle would be insulting.

  3. Lost Patrol

    Personally, this is something to give more thought to, and observe more carefully. I had developed over the course of my life, a no doubt cynical philosophy that women truly disliked hearing the truth. Fantasy seemed to be preferred. No matter how much I thought I was sugar coating it, the flat out truth seemed to generate extreme negative waves.

    Based on Cassie’s comment, I see that disliking the truth, and being able to handle it, might be two different things.

    DG and DS – good subject matter.

  4. Just speaking for myself here, but I imagine it might apply to most women that aren’t simply closed off to hearing the truth when it’s hard to hear:

    If you do things like – giving me prior warning that you need to talk to me about something that I’ll find very hard to hear (or something like that) so I can mentally prepare/brace for it (as opposed to being caught off guard and feeling defensive); sitting me down, holding my hand, and speaking in a calm and gentle tone on voice; maybe making a point to say that you’re not trying to attack me, be insulting, etc, but that you’re trying to make things better, fix a situation, do what’s in my best interest, etc… those examples of approaches will get you a lot further in getting me to see the truth than if you barge in with guns ablazin’, yelling, cussing, name calling, etc. Approaching me that way to tell me something hard to hear would have me crumpled into a pile of tears, to the point of becoming a total basket case in a matter of seconds, and I’m not gonna learn anything useful in that moment.

    So yeah, the approach is everything. Granted, not every woman will react the same, so that might not be the case with all of us. I’m just giving examples of how I would react to things.

  5. Maea

    I agree with you here, DG.

    One of the problems with modern society, that can probably be traced back 2-3 generations, is the idea of “flavoring” for women. People presumed women were too delicate to handle the truth and therefore, needed flavoring to placate their feelings. This lead to succeeding generations to believe women were owed flavoring, and then we have absurd ideas about everything as “offensive.” I think it’s done a great disservice to women, namely young women because they believe they’re entitled to never-hurt-feewings.

    What I don’t understand is why the truth needs to be harsh. Why can’t it be said plainly, for what it is? Isn’t truth truth? There are many truths which are uncomfortable for women but need to be said, whether they are backed by science, social observations, the Bible, etc. Cassie also makes a good point as well, as some people need to be “braced” differently than others. Bracing someone is different than making it more palatable.

    Think of it the way different children are prepared for truth (which I believe children are more frank than adults). I’ve talked to children who flatly told their parents when it came to getting shots, some of them didn’t want to know until the very last minute, because knowing too far in advance scared them; other children wanted to know in advance to give themselves time to prepare. Both children knew a needle was going to stick them no matter what, and keep it to a needle versus using flowery language. In fact, I’ve seen children get angry with their parents for using flowery language. Sometimes I think we adults can learn a lot from kids.

  6. Popping over from DS’s post…

    I think you’re right here Donal, that the truth is the ultimate kindness.

    My husband has always been truthful with me, even in the difficult things. And after years of this, it has fostered a deep trust between us. I know that I can believe what he says about me, because he never sugar coats things. I think he’s got a good handle on “speaking the truth in love”.
    Using the “do I look fat in this?” example, he would often say something like, “Uh, yeah, it doesn’t look great on you.”
    Or if I said it as a comment, like “Urgh, I feel so fat”, he would either say something like “Well, you know what to do about that” (work out and eat better) or he would just come and kiss me and grab onto my belly.
    Such interactions have always served to foster better intimacy between us – I walk away knowing he told me the truth and knowing he’s still attracted to me.

  7. Women deal with ‘truth’ in a way that best supports and enhances their position as herd creatures, ever conscious of their status vis a vis other women. This tendency to be underhanded and make plausibly deniable statements erroneously leads to observations they are the more empathic sex. Incorrect: they deal with truth and facts in way very different to men.

    Men seeking truth tend to pay much less attention to their personal status, meaning whilst they may be factually incorrect, their regaling of the matter is much more impersonal. Unless they’re with friends, and the art of ‘truth enhancement’ for the sake of it is in play.

  8. DJ

    Best course of action cultivate tact.
    Secondarily w tell the truth with love. Because if you really care about the best interest of others, and they know it they are more likely to take it in the way you mean it, and forgive your coarse delivery.

  9. Pingback: Kindness versus niceness | Christianity and masculinity

  10. @ DS

    What I was thinking of was something along the lines of “Do you really want me to answer that question?” Obviously, this communicates the Truth without saying it, which is in the line of womens’ subtle versus overt communication. You don’t actually need to say the Truth plainly for a woman to understand it.

    Yes, this is a much better explanation. That last line is especially on point.

    @ Cassie

    I suspect the approach aspect to women owes itself, in part, to the fact that women have more difficult separating emotional feelings from what they experience. Their emotions need to be calmed before they are really ready to accept things at face value. This is where I can see the “weaker vessel” example from 1 Peter 3 come into play.

    @ Lost Patrol

    Thanks.

    @ Maea

    Perhaps you are right that it was some sort of neo-Victorian desire to “protect” women at play. I’m not sure, myself. Whatever the reason, the effect- the ever present sense of entitlement, is anything but good to women of any age.

    What I don’t understand is why the truth needs to be harsh.

    What is harsh? Does it mean hard to accept? Does it mean that it hits close to home? I suspect that when you dig down, “harsh” really means “it makes me feel bad.” And frankly, that is just gonna happen from time to time when we cling to a falsehood that we especially like.

    Sometimes I think we adults can learn a lot from kids.

    I seem to recall Jesus saying something similar to that at some point….

    @ Seriously

    See, you are hitting at a situation where the question asked is really a cover for the real question. And the truth sought is yet again a different truth. In that case the real question is “do you still desire and/or love me?” and the real truth sought is whether you are loved/desired.

    @ DJ

    Naturally one shouldn’t cultivate rudeness. It doesn’t help at any end of this all.

  11. Pingback: In Service Of The Truth | Donal Graeme

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