"If you want to stand out in the crowd be perfectly honest" — matthew 5:33-37I

In their book, Credibility , authors Kouzes and Posner identified those characteristics that people most desire in a leader and integrity topped the list. Why? Because people with integrity can be trusted. (The Leadership Bible) The opposite of integrity is hypocrisy and brings forth the Lord’s anger. (Also see Matthew 23:16-22)

1 Samuel 15:29 "He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie." Jesus Christ is "the way, the truth and the life" (John 14:6) and to be like our Lord we must be men who keep our word "even when it hurts" (Psalm 15:4).

Jesus is not talking about profanity here (swearing) but perjury — lying under oath and especially an oath to God. (Exodus 20:7) Yet not all oaths are wrong in themselves, i.e., in court, etc., but oaths to attempt to persuade someone to believe us are what Jesus is speaking of. Our word should be enough – our yes should truly mean yes and our no should truly mean no.

Lying and dishonesty breaks trust in relationships and "trust is the currency of relationships" . And as parents or authority figures in other roles (employer, coach, elder, Christian leader) we distort the trustworthiness of God to others if we don’t keep our word.

The Pharisees had invented a concession on oaths saying that if you didn’t vow to God Himself but made an oath by heaven or by the earth or by Jerusalem or by one’s own head, then it wasn’t binding. It was like making a promise with your fingers crossed behind your back — i.e., you didn’t really intend to keep it especially if it was advantageous to get out of it. You could see why this so upset Jesus because the religious leaders were setting such a hypocritical example for others to follow in their relationship to God.

Jesus said God owns everything, the heavens, the earth, our families, our businesses, etc., and that every facet of our life should reflect his character of honesty and trustworthiness.

Satan is the father of lies and when we distort the truth in any way it "comes from the evil one", not God whom we as Christians are to represent in all of our relationships.

What are some ways your yes may not be yes and your no not be no as

1) a parent
2) a husband
3) a businessman
4) a friend

Of the four areas above where do you find it most difficult to be "perfectly honest" and why?

Did the Lord speak to you today in a particular way about really meaning (and doing) what you say?

If so, write out your thoughts below as a prayer to the Lord.

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