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Credibility

October 4th, 2010

“Truth . . (is) worth paying for, but too valuable for you to sell.” Proverbs 23:23 TEV

Credibility is simply being trustworthy.

My thoughts today are about “credibility.”

Our entire judicial system stands upon the absolute honesty of all those participating in it. To testify in a legal proceeding you are first asked, “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” Doing otherwise is perjury, a punishable offence. An important thing I learned from my Dad was that honesty, integrity and credibility are never optional – in ministry, marriage, friendships, business, and for success in life.

Trust is at the center of all of our dealings with one another – marriage, family, friendships and business. Both are fragile, easily damaged and difficult to restore. Government succeeds with the trust of its citizens. Business is transacted on the element of trust. Marriages and families thrive in the climate of trust. And trust is built on credibility.

My Dad firmly believed that a “man is only as good as his word.” There was no tolerance of anything less for himself or those with whom he had personal dealings. There are no small matters when it comes to issues of credibility and trust. Such a thing seems increasingly treated as a depreciating value, readily sold cheaply for momentary or monetary gain. Credibility is simply being believable, in stark contrast to a world that is willing to sell credibility at a discounted price.

Every day, others may compromise the reliability of their word, substituting hype and exaggerated promises, all the while assuming people won’t recognize their words as such and excusing the practice with the excuse that “everybody does it.” You must not! That’s why people are skeptical of so much that is said by media outlets, politicians, advertisers, and one another.

Don’t indulge yourself in anything less than the truth even for a moment, nor trust yourself to anyone who does. Learn to test the purity and accuracy of your words by this rigid test, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord.” Psalm 19:14 NIV.

If you claim to be a follower of Jesus, then you must not sound like the world. Words are significant; words are far more than mere sounds that soon vanish into the air. Words have force and power; they hurt or heal; they build up or tear down. Make your speech match your values. “My words come from an upright heart; my lips sincerely speak what I know.” Job 33:3 NIV.

Solomon wrote that “a man is filled with the product of his lips . . the power of life and death is in the tongue.” Proverbs 18:20-21 NKJV. God created the world, not with muscle or sweat or cleverness, but just with a word. “Let there be . . and there was.” Genesis 1:3 NIV. The Bible teaches that God also “upholds all things by His Word.” Hebrews 1:3. If God considers credibility important, you need to.

My Dad often reminded me, “Allen, only say what you mean, and always mean what you say.” I think that is still good advice. I learned the hard way that Dad meant what he said, even the times I wished he didn’t. But that also taught me that I could count on what he said when he made a promise.  Following that rule will keep you from speaking flattery, making empty threats or promises, or fearing that you will disappoint people whose love and trust matter to you.

My prayer for you today is that you guard your credibility as invaluable, irreplaceable.

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