“You, [Lord], desire honesty from the heart.” Psalm 51:6 NLT
“Life is simplest when truth is the only option you will allow yourself.”
My thoughts and comments today are about “truth and honesty.”
Some years ago when I testified before the Federal Communications Commission in Washington DC in regard to an application for a television broadcast license, the church’s attorneys coached me to avoid prefacing my responses to questions with, “to be perfectly honest with you” or “honestly speaking.” They advised that those phrases may wrongly imply that I could be less than honest and truthful in some other comments or occasions. There are times and things that may tempt you to “adjust” truth more conveniently to the moment. Resist such a time or situation.
Sometimes truth and honesty are inconvenient and seem inadequate for what we want. We want people to like us, so we flatter others. We want friends to admire us, so we exaggerate. We want others to be impressed, so we spend money we cannot afford. Truth-telling can have consequence on some few occasions, but dealing less than honestly and truthfully has consequences in your heart and character always. When you selectively speak a little less than the truth, is it still the truth? When you add something of your own opinion to truth, haven’t you made it something less not more? Life is simplest when truth is the only option you will allow yourself. Speaking or hearing the truth about yourself may hurt briefly; speaking the truth about others, however, should never be hurtful. Read Ephesians 4:15 NIV.
There is a valuable principle with which John concludes the New Testament, a warning about adding to or taking away from God’s words that could also be applied to an individual’s regard and handling of truth. See Revelation 22:18-19 NKJV. John says that you need all the truth Scripture provides, and certainly nothing less than that. Every court in our country requires all testimony first to be sworn to with these words: “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; so help you God?” The truth, the whole truth, and nothing less nor more than the truth! How much more should that be always the case with those who profess the name of Christ and dare to speak on His behalf?
Solomon advises, “Truth, wisdom, learning, and good sense – these are worth paying for, but far too valuable to sell.” Proverbs 23:23 TEV. I really like this contemporary translation connecting those four related attributes – truth, wisdom, learning, and good sense! Don’t “sell the truth” for any price. Truth is from God and the prerequisite for “wisdom;” from wisdom “learning” is acquired; and “good sense” is the practical application of what you have learned by experience. Interestingly, truth believed and practiced produces the good sense everyday life needs, and too many people appear to lack.
King David found a situation in his life when he was less than honest and truthful – with himself, which is where the problem always begins, and with others, and ultimately with God. He learned the folly and pain of doing so. See Psalm 32:1-5 NLT. From that painful experience, David wrote, “You (Lord) desire honesty from the heart, so you can teach me to be wise in my inmost being.” Read Psalm 51:1-12 NLT. Jesus said, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 NIV. Truth is liberating. Reflect prayerfully on Psalm 139:23 NLT.
My prayer for you today is that you will experience the liberating power of truth.