Playlist – Suspicious Minds
Honesty and integrity are held as very important values throughout the Bible. Yet, honesty is a rapidly disappearing quality. Truth is hedged and masked. Honesty can seem like a gray area: We tell our children to say “Dad isn’t here.” We may not tell the whole story and thus the whole truth. Or we tell half-truths. All of us expect honesty from those around us, but when it comes to our own success in this area often we rationalize times when we think it might be okay to be less than honest. Honesty is important. Truth really does matter. In today’s message we learn what is really at stake when we fail to be honest. The song we are highlighting this week is “Suspicious Minds” by Elvis Presley.
Bottom line: Honesty builds trust and dispels suspicion.
Something To Talk About:
Honesty is a reflection of who you are. Your actions are a reflection of your faith. When you are faithful and honest, it shows. Luke 16:10 says, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” Can we be trusted to be honest in all the small moments when no one is watching? So what do we do with and about honesty? Consider the following two points.
- Honesty: What do we need to do? Honesty is the best policy. Most of us would agree with that statement. But how well do we practice honesty? If we are irritated and distrustful of those who are not honest with us, then how can we justify those little white lies and carefully crafted exaggerations that we make. The Bible teaches us to be honest and practice honesty at all times. “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” (Ephesians 4:15.) David calls God’s people to live a life of integrity and purity: “The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart.” (Psalm 15:2). He clarifies what he means in verse 3: “whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others; And in verse 4 David says, “who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the Lord; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind.” We have to ask ourselves, do my words ring true? Do I speak the truth in love or do I fudge and fade the facts now and then, or exaggerate for emphasis? Honesty is a direct reflection of a person’s heart. If we expect other people to have the courage to be honest with us, then wouldn’t anything but honesty from us be promoting a double standard?
- Honesty: Why do we need to do it? Try to image just for a moment what a different place this world would be if there was no lying or deception. Lying is much more prevalent than most of us realize. It has infected all parts of our lives. God is pretty straightforward about lying in the Bible. There is not too much gray area when it comes to this because God says, “Don’t lie,” period! There are no ifs, ands, or buts. There is no gray area in stretching the truth as far as God is concerned. In our own personal lives, we need to learn the importance of telling the truth, believing the truth, and living the truth, because the very character of our Father in heaven can be imparted to us through His Holy Spirit. Some people think just telling a lie or two once in awhile is no big deal. But it is a big deal. God values honesty because it revels the truth. It demonstrates the true nature in us. Honesty is not highly regarded or even seen as necessary these days but God has called us to be honest because he is an honest God. Jesus said He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Honesty is more than a best policy, it is God’s policy.
- When you hear the word “honesty” what comes to mind? What exactly does it mean? On a scale of 1 to 10, how honest are you right now?
- How do you define a “lie?”
- Do you think culture makes it easy to tell lies? Why or why not?
- Is it ever ok to lie? If the answer is yes, how do you know when it is ok or not?
- We frequently think of a man of integrity being honest and trustworthy, but integrity is more than that. It also means firmly adhering to a code of moral values; what’s the difference between being honest and being trustworthy?
- What part does trust play in your relationships with your friends and family? Can you imagine starting a friendship with someone you didn’t trust? How would these relationships be affected if you found out someone was lying to you?
- What is a white lie? Is there any difference between a white lie and any other kind of lie? Some people say that simply avoiding the truth isn’t really a lie. What do you think?
- The real problem with dishonesty is the negative impact it has on our lives. How have you seen dishonesty impact people’s lives?
- What can we do this week to be more honest?
Take One Thing Home with You:
In many ways honesty has become an archaic idea. An idea that time has come and gone and no longer makes sense. In some cases, lying is “ok.” Especially if it is a small matter and nobody knows or is hurt. Is that type of lie worth worrying about? In a word, yes.
If you can refrain from the truth in small things, what will stop you from falling into the same position when the stakes are much bigger. If you lower your standards and allow yourself to lie, you will continue to do so. Lying gets easier the more you do it. Many of us could probably convince someone that you are innocent when you are not. Jesus is basically saying that as His children, we are to live differently. He pointed to the Pharisees, the leaders, and basically told them that they are fooling everyone but not God…because God knows the heart. Today, I hope that you take some time to look into your own heart. The point is to be honest with yourself about how you have been dishonest. Not to beat yourself up, but to start today being honest. God knows the truth and he is actually looking for people He can trust to be honest with themselves.