If the Truth Be Told

Although Valentine’s Day is most commonly thought of when considering February holidays, another one is Presidents’ Day. Two presidents celebrated on this holiday are George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Another commonality these two former commanders in chief possess besides February birthdays is that, according to popular opinion, they are considered to have been very honest. While honesty is a valuable attribute for any type of leader, it is such an assurance as believers that we are loved so deeply by the God that can be no other way but to be honest. Throughout the Bible there are passages highlighting His honesty. For instance, we are told in Hebrews 6:18 “….it is impossible for God to lie…” Words from the LORD are described as “flawless” in 2 Samuel 22:31. We are assured of His honesty in Numbers 23:19 “God is not human, that He should lie, not a human being, that He should change His mind.” Another scripture emphasizing His honesty is Luke 1:37 “For no word from God will ever fail.” We are reminded of how solid and unmovable His word is in Mark 13:31 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Additionally, we are reminded His Honesty is irrefutable through several recorded events in the Bible. One is the birth of Isaac, years after God promised Abraham in Genesis 17:4 “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of nations.” Other events include the numerous words shared by prophets in the Old Testament foretelling of Jesus’s birth and time on this earth. There were hundreds of years between the prophesies and the events occurring. Micah 5:2 identifies Bethlehem as the place of Jesus’s birth. In Zechariah 9:9 we are told “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion, see, your king is coming, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey’s colt”. Then many centuries later the account of Jesus being greeted by a large crowd waving palm branches as He came into Jerusalem is shared in John 12: 12-15. The piercing of His side at the crucifixion (John 19:34) is described in Isaiah 53:5: “But he was pierced for our transgressions….” Appreciating honesty as one of the incalculable attributes of our LORD encourages us to be truthful when approaching Him. This means being honest with the Lord when feeling angry, disappointed, sad, resentful, or other downbeat emotions. Psalm 139:2 “You know when I sit and when I rise, you perceive my thoughts from afar” indicates God is well aware of how we feel even if we are not openly expressing it. Honestly sharing our hurts and burdens with the LORD can be the start of receiving healing from Him. We can do this with confidence as Matthew 6:8 reminds us “…for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” The account of Elijah’s honesty with the Lord in 1 Kings 19:9- 18, when he had fled from the evil Jezebel, provides additional rationale for being truthful with the Lord. He shared how he felt isolated, rejected, and persecuted by his enemies despite being a faithful and courageous servant of the LORD. The LORD in turn provides him very clear directions about what his next actions were to be and also assures him he was not alone, for there were 7,000 faithful followers left in Israel. Therefore, approaching Him with honesty and not hiding under the pretense that all is fine may result in being released from falsehoods, being given guidance, and lightening our burdens. Finally, because we are loved so perfectly by the LORD whose character can be nothing but honest, persuades us to always be honest in our relationships with others. Honoring our commitments is one way to reflect this. If we agree to do something whether it is meeting up with a friend, volunteering to serve at church, or taking on an assignment for work, unless there are extenuating circumstances we want to as James 5:12 tells us “…let your yes be yes….” Seeking the Lord for guidance before agreeing to fulfill an obligation can be vital to helping us make an honest commitment. There are several other considerations for the importance of honesty in relationships with others. One is that when there is lying is a relationship, trust is eroded. If that is not a good enough reason, Proverbs 19:9 reminds us, “A false witness will not go unpunished, and whoever pours out lies will perish.” While many believers avoid lying, there may still be some issues with being totally truthful with others. For instance, when dealing with challenging people and/or difficult situations with someone close to us, we may deny that we are feeling offended, angry, disappointed, and/or resentful. Instead of sharing our true feelings, we make such statements as: “All is fine”; “No worries” or “No, I am not – angry, disappointed, upset, etc.-“. With some time and distance away from the person or situation, we may indeed feel things are fine and be able to move on. However, we may find that as time passes we remain focused on that challenging person or difficult situation and that those downbeat feelings are clinging to us. If so, it is time to seek the LORD to ask what our next steps need to be. The LORD may be calling us to have a difficult but honest and heartfelt conversation with someone so that honest feelings can be shared. This can lead to a wonderful healing and cleansing. Through seeking Him, this type of conversation could be described as in Proverbs 25:11 “Like apples in gold in settings of silver, is a word spoken at the proper time.” Through being honest in our relationships we can be as Paul shares in 2 Corinthians 5:20 “We are therefore ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” In contrast, there can be negative consequences when someone who says they are Christian is found to be dishonest. At the very least, this can be very confusing for someone who does not yet have a solid relationship with Christ. At the worst, it could become a stumbling block for those in need of salvation. So whether your plans to celebrate Presidents’ Day include enjoying a three day weekend, ignoring it or eating a big piece of cherry pie to perpetuate the myth of our first president chopping down a fruit tree, may we all take time to reflect on the attribute of honesty. We can celebrate we are loved so deeply by the LORD, knowing that every word He speaks is true. Also, in the way we relate to the LORD and others, may that old saying, “If the truth be told’ be an apt description of us.