When I was a kid, we played a game called "Truth or Consequences or Truth or Dare." The game was very simple; you had to decide up front to tell the truth or accept the consequences. The caveat of the game was that the person that asked the question was also the same person who determined the penalty. The penalty was always more painful than the truth. Relationships are the same way. No matter how painful the truth may be, the consequences for not being truthful are always more painful and damaging.
Healthy relationships require trust. Trust is created by the truth in what you say, honesty. Honesty is the desire and ability to tell the truth without any intentions to deceive. This does not mean that a person has to tell everything that they know. Honesty requires discretion. In all cases, words that come out of a person's mouth must be the truth. Honesty must run deep into the core of all those involved or the relationship will become unstable and eventually it will fall. This person will ultimately lose the very thing they thought their dishonestly would save. This is the consequence of not being truthful, you lose the relationship.
Trust is also created by the truth in what you do, fidelity. Fidelity is established through loyalty, and respect. It is reinforced by the positive actions a person takes for the good of the relationship. Some people want to be trusted, but have not taken the actions necessary to become trustworthy. This is consequence of not being faithful, you become untrustworthy.
Trust has to be earned. You can rebuild trust by doing what you say, but your actions must line up with your words. The truth about who you really are will come out in the volume of things you say. "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" (Matthew 12:34). Truthful communication involves sharing goals and ambitions, hopes and aspirations, success and failures, and likes and dislikes. This successful communication establishes truth and builds trust.
To build trust, you must continually be truthful in your words and your actions. Successful communication cannot be measured in the volume of words or by the length of the conversation. It is measured by the truths that are shared, and it exists when the words, thoughts, and actions of both parties are respectfully received. This is the key element that holds all relationships together, and this truth brings forth no consequences.
Timothy Houston is an author, minister, and motivational speaker who is committed to guiding positive life changes in families and communities. For questions, comments or more information, go to www.tlhouston.com.