Christian Truth and the Need to Be Honest in a Lying Culture

Good Morning,

Last week in this space we talked about the nature of lying and the effect it can and does have on the soul of the individual. It was also noted that false dealing troubles churches, families, and all kinds of groups of people. A more careful study of these violations of the ninth commandment is probably warranted. There is some sense in which dishonesty permeates the breaking of all of the ten commands in their own unique way. Vows to wives and husbands being the most obvious, but it also includes promises made to the company you work for concerning completing tasks and terms of employment, plagiarism alarms in education, and faith commitments to rest and trust in Christ in all things, most especially in the gifts He gives in worship and the Lord’s Day. There is even a whole chapter of our Confession of Faith given to this.

For this prayer and worship help we are going to examine why being honorable is vitally tied into loving one another and our God. Being known as those who keep their word is more than just a moral character all should strive to maintain. It is central to our identity as redeemed believers. We who were once of the Father of Lies have now become servants of the God of truth. There is much to be learned in order to have a heart of peace and a tongue of praise from asking and answering these kinds of questions, for the betterment of ourselves and one another.

Often the men we value most are the ones whom we trust implicitly with our lives because they have proven themselves so by their conduct. To quote Theodore Roosevelt, they speak softly and carry a big stick. Men of deeds, not comments. Talk is cheap, action costs blood. Lots of folks like to run their mouth, but don’t want to put in the effort to follow through. The kind of people we think about positively in relation to what the commander of the Rough Riders says above are men who don’t need to talk, they just do. Often we don’t even know they did anything. James has this type of person in mind when he writes about speech.

Well to be remembered are his words in James 3:5, “Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!”.

Lots of men confess Christ. Do they live in Him by faith?   

These things follow on the heel of the brother of Jesus saying a few verses earlier in Ch. 2:14-17:

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

The guy who feeds the hungry when he sees them hungry actually does something worthwhile, while a person who promises to feed them doesn’t actually accomplish anything, other than maybe getting some others to like him by proxy, or he gets your votes. In fact, to make an oath to do and then not do is simply at the end of the day, a lie. We get kind of numb to that because we live in a world where lots of folks do this. They volunteer for something and then don’t show up. They want to be seen to be actively engaged, but slink away when the first shovel of dirt needs to be moved. We all could lift up our own case of seeing this, or maybe we are that someone.

The worst examples of this variety of behavior are often witnessed in those with authority over us. It’s no surprise that Congressional approval resides somewhere around the neighborhood of items like cholera or hurricanes, though maybe hurricanes are higher because they do in fact clean things up in a way that an elected official does not. Of course, who is in control of putting those men in charge? Well, we are. Maybe sometimes we ought to think as to whether or not holding our nose and choosing the least worst candidate is actually to be found engaging in their sin with them. Are Christians those who value truth or are we not? It’s a hard question to ask primarily because I am not sure we want to hear the answer. When we start making excuses for lying it’s not too long before we are lying about the lying to protect the liar. That’s not a good web to be weaving, for as Solomon writes, “A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness breathes out lies.” In other words, the false speaker becomes his falsehood and cannot escape it.

A large part of the reason why our culture finds itself in its deteriorating state is because we almost don’t know how, as a nation, to tell the truth. Our daily experience is with media, educational institutions, politicians, and even the church if not outright telling lies, shading the real story to such a degree that we don’t know which way is up. While there have always been issues with this since the fall of Adam the speed has certainly increased. The old saying was that a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to put its pants on. That’s probably now more like falsehood reaches the moon before the truth can respond. Here we see a way that Christians especially are to be salt and light in a world gone mad. Lovers of truth, keepers of that which is right will stick out and have a leavening effect on those around them. It may feel weird, but people will notice the difference and their own fakeness will shame, if not outright convict. Those who follow God will be noticed, even in this small way.

In closing, it’s hard to be the kid pointing out that the emperor has no clothes when it’s people’s jobs to tell the man he has a beautiful robe on. Upton Sinclair once wrote, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” At the end of the day believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, the author of truth, have a responsibility in this sin-soaked culture to reflect His love of honest dealing. We are to do right even if 99 are wrong, for the one is greater with truth on his side. But even more than that we should seek to be holy for the God we serve is holy.

Last word:

Blessings in Christ,

Rev. Benjamin Glaser

Pastor, Bethany ARP Church

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