is a Community in Christ:
Being Honest with Each Other
We have all heard the statement, “Honesty is the best policy.” That virtue is so true, valid and important. It is vitally needed in the life, ministry and work of the church and God's kingdom. Falsehood, flattery or truthfulness, what should characterize the church or the community of believers in Jesus Christ?
There are two scriptures that come to mind, which teach and guide us in following the Lord and living in His will and according to His ways. In Ephesians 4:22b-25, “Put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.”
Then in Colossians 3:9-10, “Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”
One author wrote and I quote, “One of the characteristics of society in the days of the New Testament era was dishonesty. And how reflective this is of our own culture! Who can be trusted? Lying and cheating seem to permeate all levels of government, business, and social activities. Even marriage and the family structure have been deeply affected by dishonesty. But Christians are to be different.”
~The Measure of the Church, Gene A. Getz, 1975.
Speaking the truth in love in the life and ministry of the Church is possible only in the grace, knowledge and experience of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. How and where do we need to apply this teaching in the community of Christ with each other?
In the context of the verses mentioned earlier, there is also the teaching, “be angry but sin not.” Sometimes people need to confront someone about a problem, concern, hurt or injustice to them, but instead of talking to the person involved, they will gossip or slander them in conversation with others. They should be talking with that specific person in love not with someone trying to prove they are right. Maybe they need to say something like this, “I have a concern about something. May we talk about it together?” Then we are being honest and truthful.
Maybe we say something to someone that is flattery, praising someone excessively, motivated by selfishness. For example, we compliment someone solely for a return compliment. We should compliment others for the blessedness of giving, rather than selfishly expecting to receive a compliment in return. Then we are being honest.
Then there is the behavior of being honest to be hurtful, insulting and spiteful. Sometimes we try to cover this up by speaking the truth in jest or in a humorous way. For example, after someone stumbles and falls, another can laughingly be heard to say, “You sure are a clumsy oaf.” And yet we are exhorted by the Lord in His Word to be kind and compassionate, to encourage each other and build each other up. Oh, how much more helpful it would be to help that person up and ask if they are okay.
Oh how important it is to be honest with each other, seeking to encourage instead of criticizing, building up instead tearing down. Let us be honest and speak the truth with each other in the love of Christ.
Dad criticized the sermon. Mother thought the organist hit some wrong keys. Sister didn't like the way the choir sang. But they all got quiet when ten old Billy piped up and said, “I think it was a darn good show for a dime.”
Striving to Serve in Honesty & Humbleness!
-Pastor Perry DeGroot