Today the Church celebrated St. Bartholomew, referred to as Nathanael when first introduced to Jesus. He was given an amazing compliment by the Lord when told he had “no duplicity in him”.
It’s ironic that the man with no duplicity has two names. I suspect however that Jesus gave him the name Bartholomew like he gave Cephas the name Peter. I’ll have to read up on that.
So Bartholomew was a straight shooter. Here in Texas, we love guys who won’t BS you. But how awesome it must’ve been to have your number one descriptor come from Christ Himself!
These days, being duplicitous is unfortunately not as rare as it should be, especially in our social media driven world, where image is everything! It’s almost expected these days to present to others the image of the person you want to be, or the lifestyle you want to lead, instead of the person you actually are.
Even if our intents are good, there are many opportunities to take the path of least resistance, when it comes to authenticity, on a daily basis. But that won’t draw any praise from Christ when we meet Him.
Here are three suggestions we can all practice to remove any duplicity in ourselves.
Yes = Yes. No = No.
Jesus taught us to say what we mean and mean what we say. It’s tempting to wallow in diplomacy to avoid difficult conversations. Remembering this one thing could change everything for us from an integrity standpoint. It’s hard but worth practicing.
Practice Serving Up “No Sandwiches”
We would all like to always say yes, like Jim Carrey in the movie “Yes Man”, but it’s just not always practical. Sometimes you have to say no, offer criticism or even admonish someone. Whenever possible, sandwich a “no” or constructive criticism in between two positive (and true) statements. It will not only cushion the blow, but shows great respect and charity for those on the receiving end. The best boss I ever had practiced and taught this.
Be Honest When You Can’t Be Honest
That same manager mentioned above also did something most uncommon. When he was asked a question he was uncomfortable answering, out of prudence or respect to another party, he would just say “I can’t answer that right now”, or “Sorry, I can’t discuss that.” Often, people cave under direct scrutiny and offer up either a half-truth or divulge information they really shouldn’t in that moment. It’s perfectly fine not answering an inquiry, especially if speaking out of turn could hurt someone else. People may not always like it, but they’ll respect you for your discretion and professionalism.
Bartholomew: A Straight Shooter Until the End
A final note about St. Bartholomew. It’s reported that he was skinned alive for preaching about Jesus Christ. I can’t think of a more painful way to go myself. He suffered unbelievable torment just because he was honest about who Jesus was.
There’s an old saying that liars make terrible martyrs. So remember St. Bart the next time someone wants to claim that Our Lord was just a great teacher among many, or deny that Jesus rose from the dead. St. Bartholomew didn’t suffer for a well-intentioned guru or a myth. He died for telling the truth, that Jesus rose from the dead and spent time with him and other disciples before telling them to take the Gospel to the whole world. Then He ascended to Heaven.
St. Bart, pray for us so we can all be straight shooters, like you.