Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Ephesians 4:25
Paul, true to form, starts Ephesians with a doctrinal statement of what God has done for us in Christ (Chapters 1-3) and follows that with the practical implications (Chapters 4-6). We are new creatures who have been bought with a high price, therefore we should not live like unbelievers. And, one of the ways that works itself out is in our HONESTY.
For me, it’s important to dig down deep in this because I say a lot of words. It’s easy to be dishonest. To exaggerate to make a point, to NOT tell something that should be told to cover my tracks and leave a better impression than is strictly true. To make myself sound like an authority on some issue by a half-truth (which is a WHOLE LIE). To fail to be transparent about my real faults when called for. To sound like I know when I don’t really know. To admit my sin fully when appropriate. To cover something purely motivated by the fear of man and love of my reputation. I can be amazingly creative in dishonesty.
But dishonesty hurts me and others. Paul’s rationale for total dishonest is this: we are “members of one another.” Think of this in terms of a body. What if your eyes lied to your feet? They saw a step, but they didn’t really quite tell the truth about where it was. There would be a fall. What if a cut occurred in the hand, but the hand—wanting to seem confident and self-sufficient—didn’t tell the body it was cut and the blood system and healing properties of the body failed to send their needed supplies? Gangrene could set in and if untreated, will disease the entire body and even lead to death. My dishonesty hurts others. And, if oft repeated it makes me look like a silly fool. Exaggeration and half-truths wear thin and people figure it out after awhile. They don’t trust what I say. They don’t take me seriously because they know that I’ll stretch the truth to make my point.
I was around someone once who did this recently and it sounded so silly, so needless, and then I realized that God was giving me a picture of myself when I do the same. This morning, the Lord has convicted me that I need to go on a campaign of total honesty. This means…
I know a very well known Christian leader who went on a campaign to seek total honesty in their life. The remedy they found was instant confession. Every time they told a lie (or even lied through their silence) they went back and made total confession and restitution to those they’d sinned against. A few doses of this humiliation cured them. The pain of confession was not worth the (seemingly) momentary gain of dishonesty.
Every movement of revival has been marked by attention to this issue…by a new wave of total honesty. I wonder if revival is waiting on my honesty…and yours?
(copyright 2011, Bill Elliff)
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