Over the past year we’ve had the joy of helping to shape a young life. Tyrell is our foster grandson and he was saved not long after he came to all of us but like all of us salvation does not eradicate all our sinful practices. As we play games together, we’ve had to impress upon him that cheating is not acceptable. I suppose most kids come to that fork in the road in a contest where they figure to skirt the rules juuuust a little may give them the edge they need and help them to succeed. As adults of course we know better, well at least in “theory” ! Sometimes, even for adults this can break down in practice when the pressure is on.
So let’s visit today a basic maxim in the Bible that we all could do well to be reminded of in Ephesians 4. In verse 15 we’re told, “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ.” How many times have we been asked by a concerned friend if we’re ok and we say we are but inwardly we know we’re not? Or, as the verse teaches, we do tell the truth but we do so in a way that is harsh and unloving? I’ve seen many pastors through the years deviate on ethics ! I could go on but point is there are certainly fine points we all need to work on as far as integrity is concerned.
When you jump down to verse 25 though look at something very interesting and motivating Paul wrote, “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor, FOR WE ARE MEMBERS ONE OF ANOTHER.” Ever thought much about those capitalized words? When we choose to lie we affect those around us, and not for good ! You were likely hurt in the past due to someone’s deceit, I’d wager to say we all have been. But the blessing of blessings is this: God is not a man that He should lie ! (Num.23:19) and its IMPOSSIBLE for God to lie (Heb.6:18). Why? Because God is God ! He is the Way, the TRUTH and the Life ! Such a fact means I can ALWAYS rely on what He says and what He does ! He will NEVER hurt me, He will ALWAYS help me !
But when we cheat and lie we do not show Him to others, quite the opposite. And at what cost are you willing to sell Him out in your testimony? Is it really worth “getting ahead”, “winning” or “succeeding” [notice the quotation marks?] Of course not, so better to hold your head high and be honest for in the end you will win the crown for doing so ! I read a story as a kid about two boys selling cherries at a roadside stand. One boy put the best cherries at the top and hid smaller ones and damaged ones underneath to sell more. The other boy did kind of the opposite. He only put in good cherries but his baskets weren’t filled out all on top with the best ones. Initially the first boy sold more but as time went on he lost his customers and the other boy being found to be honest gained ALL the customers ! In the long run integrity will ALWAYS win !! Ty is learning to be honest and how vastly important that is to God’s glory and his true success – but so are we and so will be true successes when we’re honest !!