The world sees dishonesty as a spectrum: from white lies to outright deception. Is God's view on honesty equally complex?
[Steve Myers] We’ve been talking about how to be a person of principle. To do that, there’s a number of principles to live by. I’ve kind of titled these the “no matter whats”. No matter what, we have to obey God if we’re to be someone that’s called out of the ways of this world. No matter what, we have to have confidence and trust and faith that God will do what He says He’ll do. It’s a promise. So we have to, no matter what, trust God, despite our circumstances.
There’s another principle to this whole concept – that no matter what, in our behavior we have to be honest. No matter what. No matter what, honesty is showing that we’re striving for that ultimate standard – the stature of Jesus Christ. And this is a challenge. It may seem obvious, okay, we can’t lie, we’ve got to be honest. But the problem is our world around us is not in that mindset at all.
I was reading through a number of different surveys – in fact, you could Google them on the internet – that talk about the number of times the average person lies. You might be astonished to see some of those numbers. One study I read said Americans lie, on average, thirteen times a day. Thirteen times a day, average. Average. In fact, in one survey that I read, 91 percent of the people said they lied regularly. Now I suppose the problem with that survey is you can’t tell if they’re telling the truth or they’re actually lying about lying. But nonetheless, I think we’ve all experienced this very thing, that there are problems with truth in our culture today, and we can’t venture into that area at all. God’s called us out of that world. And so we have to be honest, no matter what.
There’s a wonderful proverb that deals with this in Proverbs 11:3. Here’s what it says: “The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.” Now, it’s said a little bit differently – the Living Bible says this, in verse 3: “A good man is guided by his honesty; the evil man is destroyed by his dishonesty.” So we’ve got to make a choice every single day to be that honest person, no matter what. That’s what God’s called us to, that no matter the circumstances, no matter the reasons – white lies are just as unacceptable as any other kind of lie. We must be honest. We can’t be – well, like a story I heard about the politicians. Someone said, “Well, I think when I grow up I’ll go into politics because then I won’t get in trouble for lying.” Now, wait a second. You do get in trouble for lying. Lying has consequences.
I was reading a survey about lying and the effects even of what lying has on your health. It was a survey that was done at Notre Dame a couple of years ago. And they had a group of people, that they said, “Okay, you just be normal. Tell the normal lies you normally do.” Then they had the other group that they studied, that they told them, “Do your very best not to lie at all.” And so over a period of time they studied these two groups, and you know one of the things that they found? Those that tried not to lie had better health. They had less stress in their lives, their blood pressure was lower, they had less problems overall physically than the lying group. So that’s kind of an interesting thought, when you consider even the effects of lying. It can affect our mental health. It can affect our physical health. So no wonder God said don’t lie. Don’t lie. And He made it one of the big ten, one of the big Ten Commandments. And so, it’s so important, if we’re to be a person of principle, no matter what, be honest.
That’s BT Daily. We’ll see you next time.