I read a blog post recently from a self-professed narcissist. It was a confession of sorts written by a woman who has been cheating on her husband who happens to be a soldier deployed overseas. He is a military hero and she is running around behind his back, apparently with several men, and is planning on divorcing him when he gets back.
As bad, as horrifying, as that all sounds, that is not really what shocked me. What got to me was the fact that the people commenting on her post were all very supportive. They thanked her for being honest words. They were glad that she gave it to them "raw".
The problem is that giving words of support to a person who is engaged in such wantonly destructive behavior is not only unhelpful, but dishonest. It is ultimately unloving and even hateful.
Let's try an exercise. Let's try to apply this attitude to other ethical situations.
"I murdered three people yesterday."
"I love your honesty."
"I knocked over an ATM. I felt guilty, but, oh well."
"Thanks for being so raw with us."
"I drugged a girl and raped her."
"Your truthfulness is admirable."
See, this line of thinking just does not work. You cannot simply commend someone for their honesty and leave it at that. There is another action required: an honest response, and one that is helpful to the person.
I know, I am a guy, and guys have this tendency to want to try and fix things. But I cannot read a post like this and simply say that I am glad the author was honest. I need to be honest with them.
"You are ruining your life."
"Get some professional help."
"Turn yourself into the authorities."
"Repent and believe the Gospel!"
A conversation cannot be truly honest is only one person is speaking the truth. Affirmations of their honesty might as well just be dead silence. If we are going to be honest we must speak the truth for their sake.