The simple truth about honesty
Pastor Robert Ramphal, Oster First Covenant Church, Waverly
In the gospel of Matthew 5:37, Jesus said, “But let your yes, be yes, and your no, no. For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.”
All of us have had experiences with truth telling, and we may have been asked to swear to the veracity of a statement or the quality of a product. While truth telling might be troublesome for some people, everyone expects truth to be spoken whenever a statement or claim is called into question.
In America and around the world, we have been bombarded with commercials on television and radio, in the newspaper, and on the Internet. We have seen, time and time again, commercials that have been called into question, because of their dubious nature, and some that are outright lies.
Then, there are those that are mixed with some falsehood and truth so that many people do not know what to believe. In addition, some advertisers have added star power and famous people to endorse their products.
Here is the question of truthfulness do the paid celebrities that promote these products truly buy and use them? And secondly, can they verify that what they are selling is as good and useful as they claim?
When a person lends his or her name to a product, they are, in essence, responsible for the influence they are peddling.
We also have seen political signs and literature that bear false information about candidates running for office. Things that are not true are repeated over and over again.
We have seen, many times, in the news where people have been reported to have committed crimes or made bad judgments, and later are exonerated after the facts have been discovered. We know there have been cases where parents have been falsely accused of child neglect or abuse, and also cases where children have been abused, and parents failed to own up to their responsibilities.
There are many stories of lies that had feet and walked all over the character of individuals, just to be later discovered that they were untrue. As a result, our courts are filled with litigations for libel and wrongful accusations in statements made.
The gospel text that is used for this article is clear and simple. There is no way we could misunderstand what Jesus was saying: whatever we say with our mouths must always be true.
Jesus was not talking legalism here or about constitutional rights. He was saying that life becomes very simple when we tell the truth. It is when we lie, that life becomes complicated. The quote, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when we first practice to deceive,” becomes true.
Jesus also said in the gospel of Matthew 12:36-37, “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words, you will be justified and by your words, you will be condemned.” Jesus is telling us we are absolutely responsible for our word.
If you repeat false claims or promote something that is not true, you will be held liable for your words, not the person who is paying or coaching you. Every one of us will be held liable for the things we say and do.
Hear again what Jesus said to His followers and the people that were around Him in Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away.” In other words, what He has spoken here in the gospel is not to be ignored.
His words are eternal. Whatever Jesus says is right and will always be right. When we know Him personally and intimately as Lord and Savior, we have to follow his direction.
Having our sins washed away through His blood on the cross and being forgiven for all the wrong things we have said and done, we must now do what He says for our spiritual survival.
Lastly, in case we are confused about whom Jesus is, we are reminded in the gospel of John 14:6. Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
As you can see, He is many things, and to be more than sure, He is truth. When He tells us to be truthful, we are exemplifying Him by always telling the truth. He is to be honored and praised with truth from our lips.
Our Father in heaven is glorified by our actions and words, and Jesus becomes Lord of our lives.
May God give each of us His grace to withstand the evils of the world and to abide always in his truth.