About a month ago I heard a sermon by Chip Ingram where he talked about integrity and honesty. In it he talked about a time when his wife called him out for exaggerating some numbers in a previous sermon he had given. When I heard him say that I thought “what’s the big deal” but the more I listened I realized that it wasn’t about the number but about the reason for the exaggeration. Why do we even feel the need to exaggerate the truth i.e. to lie? Everyday at all times of the day someone lies. It’s either someone we know personally, don’t know personally or it’s us doing the lying. And the sad thing is that most of the lies are about insignificant things or what people would call white lies.
Now I’m not talking about if you’re planning a surprise for someone and you withhold information or tell them something to keep them from the surprise. I’m talking about saying something to another person with the blatant intent of misleading them or to make yourself look better in a situation. I found myself in the latter situation recently at my job. Without going into a lot of details it basically involved the time frame in which I advised the client about an issue with their policy. My boss got involved and when I was telling him the story I said that the date I advised the agent was the same date that I found out knowing that I actually found out earlier but didn’t say anything. Needless to say it was brought to light and I apologized to him for not providing the correct information. Most people would say it wasn’t a big deal but I think it speaks to what was in my heart that caused me to lie in the first place-self preservation and pride.
Both can lead us to tell one lie and then another and then another to the point where we no longer know where the truth ends and the lie begins. I’ve known plenty of people who have made lying so much a part of their lives that it’s difficult for them to remember who what lie they told to what person. And here’s the thing at the end of the day even though you’re saying the words to another individual the real person you are lying to is yourself and to God. Lies keep us in bondage and that’s the last thing God wants. He wants us to be men and women of integrity. I mean, image what would happen if we valued our words as much as we value money? if we treated our words like a precious jewel? The says that there is life and in death in our words. Why not speak life (truth) instead of death (lies)?
After that encounter with my boss I realized that I wanted my words to be more than just words. I want them to be a reflection of my heart and I want my heart to be a reflection of Jesus. Do I always succeed? No. But I am grateful for God’s mercy for those times when I stumble.
My prayer for us all is to remember that no one and I mean no one is perfect except the Lord Jesus Christ and that speaking words of integrity is a day by day process. If your heart desires to speak the truth God will give you the grace to do it.
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