When is a liar not a liar? Ephesians 4:25 tells us the answer: when he becomes a truth teller.
“Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.”
This is a pattern developed repeatedly in this chapter and in other places. It’s not enough not to be nasty; we must speak kindly. It’s not enough not to steal; we must learn to be a giver. Paul gives us several examples to help us understand exactly what it means to put off the old man, renew our minds, and then finally, replace our old behavior with Christ-honoring behavior.
Our passage is a helpful one when understanding the concept of honesty. In our pagan culture, honesty is simply defined as “not telling lies.” This is how Bill Clinton could look people in the eye with indignation that he was being accused of dishonesty. He told the truth. In fact, Clinton probably always tells the truth. But that doesn’t make him honest. God’s standard is higher.
Yesterday David informed me that he told me that he really didn’t like the cucumbers he had been given after all. He was caught in a trap. Right now he’s been working overtime to be pleasant and well behaved. So when he was given a small bite of a new food, he responded enthusiastically. But that caused him to be given a larger helping, which he wasn’t happy to receive. At the end of his meal, when he had only a pile of cucumbers on his plate, he tried to explain the problem.
He actually started to say that he didn’t tell the truth. But that has problems, so he phrased it differently. “I didn’t say it right. What I meant was that I liked it just a little.”
Now, that may be true, and I do want to be careful not to make accusations. But it’s clear from this and other statements he’s made that he needs more instruction on the value of truth telling. I stumbled over what to say, and was dissatisfied with my response. I’ve been thinking about it.
Truth is a rare commodity in our slippery postmodern culture. I want David to be a man who tells the truth, even if it means he must admit fault. I want him to tell the truth because it is right, not because it gets good results and makes mom and dad happy.
Today we’re going to talk about telling the truth. I’m going to talk about this verse that I shared here. I’m praying that he will learn the high priority that God places on integrity.
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