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The Agora
Bible Articles and Lessons: H

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Honesty

"Being honest in the sight of all men means that we must be completely straightforward and truthful in our dealings with others -- and also to ourselves. We say we have accepted the Truth and claim therefore that we are honest. But do we continue to make mischief and tell lies?

"Sometimes we find it hard to be honest because we don't want to upset anyone. To take a very trivial example: we see a friend and we don't think that her clothing is at all appropriate but we are afraid to say so and end up complimenting her. Is that being honest? In speaking the truth we have to be gentle and considerate, but sometimes even that can bring hurt feelings.

"We are supposed to be missionaries preaching the Lord Jesus Christ in word and action. He was always totally honest and true -- as we must be! He was not only honest in the sight of all men, he was totally honest before God. And he will help us in our aim to be honest before God, for only then will our honesty be complete. Look how he helped Peter to overcome his shameful dishonesty. And he did it in deepest love.

"Sometimes we tell lies and excuse them as jokes when they are found out. 'Like a madman shooting firebrands or deadly arrows is a man who deceives his neighbour and says, "I was only joking!" ' (Pro 26:18,19). This kind of behaviour is often seen in children and because it is not corrected it continues into manhood. It is never too early to learn that complete truthfulness must be a way of life from childhood onward. These things the Lord hates -– a proud look, a lying tongue, a false witness who tells lies, and he that sows discord among brethren.

"We must be on our guard that we are not taken in by lies just because we hear them over and over again. We must also make sure that we ourselves are not guilty of trying to convince others of something that is not true by the use of repetition. Remember that mob in the theatre in Ephesus? They wanted everybody to believe that the goddess Diana was real. So they just shouted and screamed and chanted in unison, 'Great is Diana of the Ephesians' for a couple of hours until everybody was hoarse. But the idol was as dead at the end of all those 'vain repetitions' as it was at the beginning. Let us not be so proud as to refuse to give up a false opinion we have, even though the truth has been revealed to us.

"Recently I spoke to a sister concerning a brother and family member about some misunderstanding that had taken place. The sister made it clear that there was nothing I nor anyone could do to convince this brother that what he heard was a lie. He is stubborn and too proud to let go of self and be humble. We deplore this behaviour in others. Let us also be sure that we despise it in ourselves as well.

"In Psa 133, we are reminded that it is good and pleasant for brethren to dwell together in unity. The final blessing of eternal life will come only to brethren and sisters who dwell together in unity. Spreading lies and believing them causes discord and unhappiness. What a hateful thing to sow seeds of bitterness in a united family and cause unnecessary strife! This is the old nature of man, but for those who are washed in the blood of the Lamb, this should not be named among us. Our faith should be stronger than to tell lies.

"The Internet and E-mail have provided a new medium for spreading lies about those whom we may not like. We can hide our identity while still causing pain to others. I have been appalled at the misuse of the Internet by brethren who should know better. I know one sister who has suffered intense distress because of untrue things circulated widely about her, in some cases by brethren who have never even met her. It should never be like that in the family of God.

"Why should anyone -– especially a brother or a sister –- tell such lies deliberately? Is it to accomplish evil? Why go naked to such a work when there are many beautiful garments ready to hand? It is easy to feel bitter and find covering which might even deceive ourselves.

"We have much to be thankful for today through the mercies of God shown in the saving name of Christ Jesus. That's why many of us who have lying lips like Ananias and Sapphira don't drop down dead immediately as they did. There is still time to start a life of truthfulness. How long are we going to wait before we...

"Speak the truth and speak it ever, cost it what it will.
He who hides the wrong he did, does the wrong thing still.

"Brethren and sisters, we cannot lie our way through to the Kingdom. Instead, be honest and true. Be truly serious about the word. Be true to one another" (Gerzel Gordon).

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