Posts Tagged ‘Honesty’

The 2016 elections have become a media circus of insults, lies, and mudslinging that the modern world has not seen before. According to politifact.com, not one of the leading candidates have been completely honest.

Donald Trump has taken many political pundits by surprise and has left the Republican Party scratching its head and wondering why he is leading the pack. Others are wondering how someone who is under a federal probe can still be so popular with Democratic voters. Some have even stated that this year’s elections could mean the destruction of our political process and the end of our constitutional freedoms.

So how did this happen?

When the Israelites wanted a king like other nations had, they were rejecting their unique, set-apart position as God’s people. The nation whose God was to be the Lord alone was envious of the nations who followed false gods. (1 Samuel 8:4)

The prophet Samuel answered the people and said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men[a] and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.” (1 Samuel 8:11-18)

But the people no longer wanted to be ruled by God and they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” (v. 19-20) And God’s people suffered great calamities for years afterward because of their decision.

It should be no surprise then, I suppose, that the powers of government have always been expanded under this same faulty way of thinking. Think of almost anything now provided by government today, (which is almost everything) and you will quickly realize that it could easily have been provided without government intervention!

God warned the Israelites that being ruled by a man would be costly both in goods and in freedom. Government is a very expensive item: you must pay for the bureaucrats who are always very wasteful, and you must give up the freedom to make your own choices, which is also very wasteful of human initiative and talent. God also pointed out that there is a point of no return on having government rule rather than God. There will come a time, God says in vs. 18, “when you will cry out for relief from the king whom you have chosen for yourselves. But the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

This is happening now! 

But it wasn’t always this way. A tiny band of religious outcasts who founded this country hit upon a formula for success that went way beyond what they could have imagined and established a nation that became the best example of civil, economic and religious liberty that the world has ever known.

Although not all the signers of the Constitution, the Declaration Of Independence and the Bill of Rights may have been Christians, they were wise enough to follow the example of those religious outcasts and use God’s rules as a blueprint for true freedom and liberty.

Sadly, it took less than 100 years for corruption to creep into our government of and by the people. Today we no longer want to be ruled by God, but like Israel of old we say,  “No! Let there be a government rule over us, that we may be like all other nations, and that our government leaders may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.”

So how can we apply these same foundational truths that brought our founding fathers liberty and freedom today? By turning from our wicked ways and turn back to God with a truly repentant heart; and realize that it is God alone who judges. And it is He who decides who will rise and who will fall. (Psalm 75:7; Daniel 2:21;1 Samuel 2:7)

I only pray that it’s not too late.

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, THEN I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.…”But if you turn aside and forsake my statutes and my commandments that I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will pluck you up from my land that I have given you, and this house that I have consecrated for my name, I will cast out of my sight, and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples. And at this house, which was exalted, everyone passing by will be astonished and say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land and to this house?’ Then they will say, ‘Because they abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods and worshiped them and served them. Therefore he has brought all this disaster on them.’” (2 Chronicles 7: 13-22)

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“Some will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” (2 Timothy 4:3,4 )

With the 2016 presidential campaigns in full swing, the contest for deception, misdirection, fact-bending, half-truths, and downright lies to win the hearts and minds of voters, has also ramped up.

I’m constantly amazed by how often politicians lie—and their unwillingness to admit that they lied. And the excuses that politicians use for what is, in many cases, bold-faced lies are legend: “I misspoke. The media misinterpreted what I meant. My words were distorted, misrepresented, twisted, exaggerated, or taken out of context.” (Take your pick)

But, of course, politicians never lie. (At least that’s what they say) Yet, the truth is that politicians DO lie. And about things that are substantive.

According to Politifact.com, a fact-checking website, even the politicians who many would consider to be the most honest, have been caught telling some serious lies. Regardless, people tend to still believe the candidates they like—in spite of any indiscretions that may be uncovered about them.

Most of us are conditioned from early childhood to think for ourselves and to seek out the “right” truth. Moment by moment, day by day, we want to believe that we are skillfully analyzing statements and basing our opinions on the correct conclusions. But reality routinely contradicts that belief.

Today’s internet culture and social media sites like Face Book and Twitter provide endless opportunities for untruths and conspiracy theories to be presented as factual as people accept beliefs and reports that are completely erroneous.

Consider “net-crud,” the term given to contrived photographs or stories circulating on the Internet which have been deliberately manufactured or doctored so as to mislead readers into believing they’re evidence of remarkable discoveries or events. Claims attributed to “ex-CIA agents,” “retired FBI agents,” or “ex-NASA engineers” are offered as attempts to legitimize the fabrications. As a result, many people automatically assume that a remarkable story or claim is true. “It’s on the internet, so it must be true. Right?”

The $64,000 question is, why do people continue to believe lies when confronted with the truth? Particularly in this age of the Internet and its army of professional and amateur fact checkers.

Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany  once said, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

It is not a stretch to understand why people would believe something if they hear it enough. People expect that lies will be disproved and fade away. So if the lies continue to be heard, people assume then, that they must be true. Media manipulators capitalize on that assumption every day.

Even though many believe that honesty and integrity is important, the word integrity is rarely even used any more. In the Old Testament, most of the verses contain the word integrity. Below are just a few:

1 Kings 9:4-5 – And as for you, if you will walk before me, as David your father walked, with integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you, and keeping my statutes and my rules, then I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father, saying, “You shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.”

Proverbs 2:20-21 – So you will walk in the way of the good and keep to the paths of the righteous. For the upright will inhabit the land, and those with integrity will remain in it …

Proverbs 28:18 – Whoever walks in integrity will be delivered, but he who is crooked in his ways will suddenly fall.

Proverbs 28:18 Whoever walks in integrity will be delivered, but he who is crooked in his ways will suddenly fall.

John MacArthur once said, “According to Scripture, virtually everything that truly qualifies a person for leadership is directly related to character. It’s not about style, status, personal charisma, clout, or worldly measurements of success. Integrity is the main issue that makes the difference between a good leader and a bad one.”

And yet, this year people will choose the next president, not according to his or her integrity and honesty, but according to who lies the least!

The irony is that mankind has really brought this onto themselves. After all these centuries, people still haven’t learned to take back their power and start taking responsibility for themselves.

Our nation is in a crisis. The world is crying out for answers in the face of bewildering and seemingly unsolvable problems—from a failing education system, to racial unrest, to threats against traditional family values. Will we be prepared with biblical answers to combat the folly of mankind? Or will we just stand by and wait for the axe to fall?

“Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.” (2 Tim. 3:8, 9)

As the moral climate of our society has been deteriorating, lying and deceit have become major problems. The political world is particularly plagued by this problem — from the recent scandals within the IRS– to the reports that the president and his aids lied to the American people concerning the Affordable Health Care Act.

Lawyers have increased in numbers over the last decade, mainly because of irresponsibility among men due to lying and deceit. If one was to do a study on the subject of lying and deceit they would discover that there have been volumes of material written on the subject of lying, not to mention the ethics and moral issues regarding lying.

What I have to say about lying can by no means be construed as the final say on the subject. I am not an expert, but the goal of this article is to:
• Determine at least one principle truth about lying which everyone would agree.
• Show how applying this one principle can help us guard against common mistakes concerning lying.
• Offer points of application.

When is a lie NOT a lie?

Well, obviously when it’s a misspeak. Who misspeaks? Politicians misspeak and don’t ever, ever lie. (The only ones who don’t know that must live on some isolated island not yet discovered) The difference between a lie and a misspeak, depends on who’s speaking. One could say that a misspeak occurs when the person misspeaking does so without bothering to check facts or the truth of what’s being said. Then, when they are caught in the untruth they can say, “Well, I didn’t lie, I only misspoke.”
When a person says something that he or she knows for a fact is untrue no matter how they try to spin it, this is a lie and it can’t be turned aside as misspeaking. Did you know that some politicians — even those who are lawyers — lie? (No big surprise about that) Lying to pander one’s self to the electorate is reprehensible and the lowest form of public behavior; especially for someone who is entrusted with the solemn duty of enforcing the laws of our nation.

Many of us complain about how much politicians lie to us, but are we any different?

The dictionary defines a lie as:
1. A false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.
2. Something intended or serving to convey a false impression;
3. An inaccurate or false statement.
4. To express what is false; convey a false impression.

What does the Bible say about lying?
Col 3:9-10
9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,
10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him
Prov 14:5
5 A faithful witness will not lie, but a false witness speaks lies.
Prov 19:5
5 A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who tells lies will not escape.
Rev 21:8
8 “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
James 3:14
14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth.
Ex 23:1
1 “You shall not bear a false report; do not join your hand with a wicked man to be a malicious witness.
Prov 12:19
19 Truthful lips will be established forever, but a lying tongue is only for a moment.
Prov 6:16-19
16 There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him:
17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood,
18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil,
19 A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers.

A lying tongue is not only something God hates, it is something that is an abomination to Him! This was proven in the consequences of lying and deceit given in Acts 5:1-11.

Common mistakes
So, I now ask the question: Are we guilty of lying when we do not keep our word? It is certainly true that if we knowingly tell someone that we are going to do something, knowing that we have no intentions of following through on our promise or commitment, then, we are guilty of lying — there was intent to deceive that person. But many people today believe that if they do not follow through on a commitment or promise, it does not necessarily mean that they lied. Too often we are just too quick or rash with our mouth. They don’t take enough time to think about what they are saying. They usually don’t have too much thought behind their words. But what does the Bible say about that?

James 5:12
But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but let your yes be yes, and your no, no; so that you may not fall under judgment.
The point is that our words should mean something. Our words should be well thought out and our words should be few.

For example, if we tell someone that we will meet them somewhere tomorrow, and we have no intention of meeting them, then we have lied. This excuse is often used with a deliberate intent to deceive. The person does not show up at the appointed time and then calls back back at a much later date with excuses of why they were unable to meet, usually goes something like: “I meant to call you but I was just so busy, I didn’t get around to it.”

We all have been guilty of this, but we need to realize when we say we will do something we need to keep our word. We do understand there are legitimate reasons that make it impossible at times to keep our word and in those circumstances we are not guilty of lying. But it might be better not to make this promise or to say, “I will try to call you back tomorrow to confirm.”
I could list numerous examples. The point is any time we say the words “I will” we need to be responsible to do it. We all, on occasion, fail to do the things we have good intentions of doing or we are hindered in some way and can’t do them. However, if we are unable to keep an appointment we should be thoughtful enough to call and cancel, or tell of our delayed arrival. We are living in an age when there are so many uncaring attitudes expressed. Too often, these careless attitudes, if left unchecked for too long, can be construed as lies and deceit. As Christians, we can be good witnesses by being different.

Application
None of us likes being lied to. None of us likes being falsely accused of lying. The reason is because truth is primarily a self-regarding virtue. In other words, it is in our own best self-interest to see things as either being true or untrue. If we wish to walk carefully through life, to do so we must be able to show our true position. When you lie to me, YOU know your position but you have given me a false impression which obscures my view of you. When I lie to you, I create a situation in which you have a false view of I really am.
The implication of this is that no one who has any regard for his own dignity and self-respect will be guilty of the immorality of a lie. Even a liar does not like to be lied to. The one principle of truth that I have tried to convey is that lying does not always involve malice. It is possible for an honest person to error by an unintentional lie without any intention of deceiving. Such a person may not consider themselves to be a liar. But just as the hypocrite is detested and despised, so should the liar be. However, just as no honest person would ever consent to play the hypocrite, so no honest person should ever be guilty of a lie.

What kind of witness are we to those around us? As Christians we need to ask the Lord to forgive us if we are guilty of lying or deceit. Not only do we not want to lie, but we also want to keep our word so that people know we are honest and trustworthy. On the other hand, before we accuse another of being a liar, we need to make sure that we can prove malice or intent, lest we be deceived and become liars ourselves. As Christians, we want to represent our Father well in this life and be honest and free from false accusations. We can only do this through the power of the Holy Spirit as we seek to be like Jesus. Jesus always kept His Word. God still keeps His Word and is faithful to keep every promise He makes in the Bible. That is why He is reliable and we can trust Him.
And we are called to be like Him.