"Integrity"

The LORD judges the peoples; Vindicate me, O LORD, according to my righteous-ness and my integrity that is in me.
(Psalm 7:8)

The preacher had left his office rather quickly, having several errands requiring his attention. On the road, he glanced into the mirror and noticed that a policeman was following with lights flashing. He pulled over and noticed that he had forgotten to buckle his seat belt. He quickly put it into place and awaited the officer’s arrival at the window. The formalities aside, the preacher told the officer who he was and how embarrassing this was for a minister to be stopped by an official. The officer asked, “Sir, do you always buckle your seat belt?” The minister replied that he did without fail. “I never drive without doing so.” The officer then asked, “Do you always run the strap through the steering wheel?”

I have a burden. It seems today that people all around us think nothing of speaking anything but the truth. Dishonest speech is glossed over like a shinny fresh coat of paint over an old piece of wood. Politicians make statements that are clearly false and think nothing about it. They’re more concerned with how many foolish people will buy their snake oil. Truth is a rare commodity in a society that has, many years ago, lost its moral compass. However, that is not surprising to me in light of a society that is possessed by relativism, where everyone names his or her own truth.

What burdens me more are the many believers I have encountered over the years who traffic in the land of lies, distorted reality and even “little white lies,” (whatever that means). Like this pastor in the above funny story, believers, if necessary for their own good, speak untruths and “little white lies” with impunity. The travesty of this is that they go on in their lives assuming and acting like they are just as spiritual and just as much in fellowship with God as they have ever been. The Apostle Paul said that can’t be so.

In Ephesians 4:25, as the Apostle Paul begins a new paragraph listing many sins of the flesh, he begins with “laying aside falsehood, speak truth.” What is significant about this statement is that after mentioning all these things, he says (in the literal Greek text) in verse 30 to “stop grieving the Holy Spirit.” Essentially, the Apostle Paul was saying lies and falsehood snuff out the Spirit’s power in our lives because our fellowship with God is broken.

Proverbs 6:16 lists the 7 sins that are an abomination to God; the second on the list, behind only pride is that of lying. God takes very seriously the issue of lying. One reason, I am convinced, is because when one habitually lies, one develops a clinical DNA that leads to believing other distorted rationale about oneself and one’s relationship with God. The more one lies, the more that one becomes calloused to his/her lies. The unvarnished truth is that habitual lying, beyond an abomination to God, is a major character flaw, desperately in need of the surgical work of the Holy Spirit in one’s life. As Percy Shelley said in the 1800′s, “Dishonesty is a scorpion that will sting itself to death.”

Let’s remember that in John 8:44, Satan is referred to as the “Father of Lies.” That means that lies come from Satan, expressed through the flesh. Thus, we must conclude, when lies become a part of our behavior, we can safely assume that we are much closer to pleasing Satan than we are God.

God places a high premium upon a life that is known for its integrity. This is the time of the year that we set New Year resolutions. Let me suggest one to you that is seldom mentioned at the top of the list of New Year resolutions. This year, determine to be honest in every dealing…in every relationship. Determine to view any lie as just as sinful as stealing, adultery or cheating…or any other you might place on your top list of sins. Make it your passion to so please God that you will tell the truth even if it incriminates you. If you do this, you might be surprised as to how God will bless. For we are told in I Samuel 26:23a, “The LORD will repay each man for his righteousness and his faithfulness.”….And don’t forget. Calling sin by a softer name will change neither its offensiveness to God nor its cost to us.

Pastor Byron