Honesty is the best policy. No doubt this is something that we have heard throughout our lives. Throughout the Word of God, we read of the value, necessity, and benefit of being honest. Honesty includes with it the idea of being both principled and reliable. Christ, in His Sermon on the Mount, speaks directly to this issue when He said:
“But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one” Matthew 5:37.
What did Christ mean by this and what are its implications to every child of God?
Christ in essence is saying here, that not only are we to be people who mean what we say, we are also to be people who keep what we say. If we have to resort to an oath to uphold or reinforce our words, what does that say about us? Christ says that anything more than your simple yes, or your simple no in normal everyday conversation is of the devil. Those are powerful words.
When we look at this verse in its context, we see that Christ was forbidding oaths. It has been said that if an oath is necessary, then integrity is lacking. I can vividly remember when I was much younger — and before I was born again — trying to impress others, or else prove the truthfulness of a statement I had made by adding not the phrase, “I promise you that I’m telling the truth.” Instead, it was with a brazen, “I swear to God.” By not knowing God, it was easy; we all did it without even blinking. The fact is that sometimes I actually was telling the truth, but sometimes I wasn’t. Such is the mind and heart of the unsaved.
Those who were a part of this crowd that had gathered to hear Christ speak on the mount, understood what Jesus meant, but they also knew what the Law stated:
“Again, you have heard that it was said to those of old, you shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord. But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black” Matthew 5:33-36, (emphasis mine).
Jesus in essence told those under the sound of His voice not to lie under any circumstances. The phrase, “to the Lord” in verse 33 could, for all intents and purposes, be used as a cover for a lie. What those listening understood was that any oath which was taken with God’s name in it was legally binding; but that an oath taken without God’s name in it was not legally binding.
Why Is Honesty So Important for Us? Jesus’ words continue to have implications as to how we live our lives. Personal integrity becomes an extremely important factor as we live before the world. It should be understood that whether or not we can maintain that integrity will have an impact on our witness to those in the world. Scripture makes this clear:
“Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us: Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men” 2 Corinthians 8:21.
“Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men Roman 12:17.
Allowing our yes to be yes, and our no to be no reinforces who we are in Christ. Since we have identified ourselves with Him, it means that at all times we are to remember that our ultimate goal in this life is to be like Christ, and that dishonesty will serve to distort the world’s perception of Christ. Satan has already blinded their minds that they should not receive the glorious light of the gospel, and our behavior in the world should not be used to reinforce the Devil’s lies.
There is one remaining factor to keep in mind when speaking of personal integrity. The phrase “all men” in the previous verses is referring to those outside of Christ, but we are also to maintain honesty toward one another:
“Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all” Colossians 3:9-11.
Let us remember as we live out this life in Christ, that we are to walk and talk as He did, and that means being honest at every turn.
WHOSOEVER WILL WORSHIP MINISTRIES
Assistant: Pastor Wesley Fulton
429 Bayou Rd, La Marque, Tx.77568
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