Read: Proverbs 19:9
The person who tells lies gets caught; the person who spreads rumors is ruined. (The Message)
That’s not you, right? Solomon must be talking about that lyin’ horse thief two cubicles down. Want to know when he’s lying? His lips are moving!
Okay, so you’re not like that guy, but hold on a minute. I read a survey recently that said 91% of Americans lie regularly—so the likelihood that one of us is fudging just went up dramatically. Sociologists tell us that we either hear or see 300 lies every day. Actually it’s 200…I just wanted to show you how easy it was to lie!
The truth about us is we’re just prone to dishonesty. When is the last time you said?
The check’s in the mail.
I’ll be ready in just a minute.
It was nice to see you.
I’ll be praying for you.
This hurts me more than it hurts you.
Let’s do lunch.
My mom’s not home right now.
No honey, that dress doesn’t make you look fat.
Pastor Ray, I love your sermons…I wish they were longer!
Seriously, I think we—you and I—are truth-challenged people. But the Lord is calling us to a higher standard—one of truth-telling (with grace, of course—especially with the “how do I look in this dress?” thing!). Ever heard the phrase, honesty is the best policy? It really is! And God’s Word clearly teaches that it always pays to speak, live by and honor the truth, at all levels, at all cost, at all times, no matter what. Here are just some of the benefits of truthful living:
Truth will guard my life. Proverbs 2:7 says, “God provides help and protection for those who are righteous and honest.” That word means to be a bodyguard whose sole purpose is to shield you. If we’re honest, God will safeguard us in danger.
Truth will guide my path. Proverbs 11:5 reminds me, “The godly are directed by their honesty.” Honesty allows us to see God’s way and our direction becomes very clear.
Truth will enrich me. Proverbs 13:21 says, “Trouble chases sinners, while blessings chase the righteous!” Honesty triumphs over dishonesty.
Truth will endear me to God. Proverbs 12:19 & 22 points out, “Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment…The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in those who are truthful.”
A while back, a newlywed couple from Chicago opened their presents before they went on their honeymoon, gathered all their cash, loaded up the car, but left the cash on the top of the car and drove away—$12,000. It fell to the street. An unemployed but honest man found the money—and returned it. Interestingly, the city went nuts about it. People were baffled how a jobless man could do that and not just take the money.
When the story broke, this guy got job offers from Sony, Hilton, Hyundai, Motorola, and more. He was rewarded for his honesty. In a very real sense, that’s what God does for us. He’s in the business of rewarding honesty. Psalm 51:6 says “You’re after truth from the inside out…” and Psalm 140:13 adds, “honest people will live in his presence.”
Think of what could happen in our lives, our marriages, our families, our businesses and our church if we would just all commit to telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth in grace and love. I Chronicles 29:17 teaches, “I know, my God, that you examine our hearts and rejoice when you find integrity there.” (NLT)
When we commit to honesty at all levels we’ll live under God’s favor at every level.
“It’s easier to tell the truth; that way you don’t
have to keep track of anything.”
Your Assignment, Should You Choose To Accept It:
Do a personal inventory in the following areas where we are prone to fudge:
Self-Protection: We misstate reality to keep from being seen in a bad light. “I was already up.” “Sure, I remember you.” “Couldn’t be better!”
Slander and Gossip: Slander is saying things that make someone look bad, while gossip is to give or receive information about someone behind their back.
Exaggeration: We make ourselves look better than we really are. Interestingly, the Greek word for exaggeration is “resume”.
Silence: We withhold truth that could help another.
Evasion: We shade the truth. “Tell them I’m not home.” “I’ll be praying for you.” “Hey, let’s do lunch.”
Cheating: We fail to declare income on tax returns; we don’t pay a bill; we get our 14-year-old in on the “Kid’s Under 12 Eat Free” night at Fuddruckers.
Flattery: We say something out of impure motives for a favorable response.
Use of Time: We take extra long lunches, leaving work early or are chronically late.
Compromise: We justify a questionable action or attitude out of fear, pressure, or pleasure.
So, how’d you do?