Thursday, April 28, 2011

Book Review: To Be Perfectly Honest, by Phil Callaway

Author and speaker, Phil Callaway, took on a challenge few of us would have the courage to tackle: telling the honest truth in all circumstances for an entire year. In his humorous and witty style, Callaway sets out on his year-long journey determined to take on the behemoth of veracity, only to discover it’s not as easy as he thought it would be.

“To Be Perfectly Honest” is a 365-day journal of Callaway’s hits and near-misses in his battle to speak the truth. Rather than simply being truthful about others’ failings or flaws, he quickly finds out that the person he needs to be the most honest with is himself.  As he progresses through his truth project, it becomes evident to him that an honest answer can cultivate a myriad of unexpected responses:

Some people would prefer to hear a lie; the truth can hurt others as well as yourself; it can be viewed as sarcastic, critical, or judgmental; it could re-open old wounds, or actually heal them; and depending upon the recipient of the truth, it may reveal a different side of one's character that's not often seen.

Phil Callaway’s wit and style of humor propels his readers through the book. Whether it’s his imagined or actual encounters with his new-found approach to complete honesty, there’s no shortage of laughter over his antics. But he also reveals a more poignant side of himself that will cause his readers to react with empathy and compassion. As he recalls his visits with his ailing mother, the trials of his close friends, his brief missionary trip where he rocked a small crippled child in his arms and wept, and his wayward, drug-addicted brother, Callaway has the ability to make his readers weep with him.

Perhaps the most profound conclusion Phil Callaway discovered is that the challenge of being totally honest in every circumstance is something a struggling Christian is incapable of fulfilling without God’s help. He ends his year-long journal with the understanding that being honest or dishonest is less about him and how others receive him, and more about how God views his own flaws and weaknesses. And with this new revelation, Callaway is determined “to extend the discipline on this truth vow another fifty years.”

I encourage everyone who has ever struggled to answer the hard questions with open honesty, or thought it would be a snap to do so, to read “To Be Perfectly Honest”. Perhaps it’s time we all took our own 365-day truth challenge. Like Phil Callaway discovered at the end of his journey, we may see it as a soul-searching, life-changing approach to a closer and better relationship with the God Who finds our little white lies, fibs, and whoppers a great offense.

"To be perfectly honest," you won't be disappointed with this book.

(Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.  Please visit their website and rank my review.  Thank you!)

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