THERE are many among us who espouse the virtues of honesty.
They speak of it with reverence, and are sanctimonious about adherence.
But in the truest (forgive the pun) sense, truth takes more than a misguided sanctimony.
White lies, unintentional truth-bending, exaggeration - such seemingly innocent manipulations of truth, all offered up under the justification of protecting someone or sparing them a nasty or difficult reality.
In honesty, there can be discomfort - despite us all hand-on-heart stating we want the facts, the real and unadulterated truths about life and our part therein.
Jack Nicholson rendered immortal the phrase: "You can't handle the truth."
Well you know what? Many cannot.
I recently had a conversation with someone I hold dear which was brutally honest.
There was stuff neither of us wanted to hear, but it was said anyway.
The result wasn't all light and delight. There were moments of horrible dread.
Goose bumps, the prickling of tears, a stirring of hurt, and times when I lacked any kind of faith in my ability to handle the truths being told.
But through it all, something emerged more powerful, more beautiful and infinitely more enduring: Faith. Trust.
My friend offered up one sentence as a justification, a disclaimer of sorts, if you like: "I used to tell white lies, or not always the entire truth if it meant protecting them, but why?
"It doesn't achieve anything. Now, you might not like what you hear, but I will always be honest."
If we all made the deliberate and conscious choice to be truly honest, think how meaningful our relationships would be.
Be honest with yourself.
Honesty is a virtue more often espoused than enacted. That is the plain old ugly truth.
But in knowing, accepting and then understanding this, there comes a refreshing lightness.
Upon truth, trust is based. Upon honesty, we build faith.
Be honest. Tell the truth. Be direct, but not blunt. The results can be breathtaking.