Monday, October 4, 2010


For many people, being telling the truth isn't too tough of an issue. We are mostly taught from an early age that it is not right to lie. Whether we grow up under view of the 10 Commandments ("thou shalt not bare false witness – lie) or just generally receive guidance that telling lies gets you into trouble, most of us know it is good to tell the truth. However, telling the truth is not the same as being honest. The idea of being honest goes much deeper and further and is core to what we believe and how we interact with God. It is also more about self than it is about your interaction with other people.

In many areas of my life I have no trouble with honesty. I can freely confess to struggles with prayer due to philosophical debates I have with myself over the purpose of prayer. I can openly discuss how much of a jerk I was to my wife while completing my college education. I can even admit, and this is tough, that I excused that horrible behavior because it was what God wanted – I was getting a Biblical Studies degree after all. Still, there are many areas in my life where honesty seems to take a back seat.

The areas that are tough are those areas where I have doubts. For me this usually takes the form of logical arguments with aspects of the Bible, my belief in miracles, and thus in God at all. Fortunately, I have been able to work through these, honestly, without too much trouble. Unfortunately, some deep dilemmas still exist that either I am not honest about or just ignore the honest answers. And I would argue that by ignoring the honest answer, I am actually being dishonest.

Example: I truly, honestly believe that I live in a culture and maintain a lifestyle that is out of touch with what God calls me to live. I say I am willing and ready to change that 100% and get back to full-time, located ministry as I believe God desires that from me. However, I justify my house, my cars, my career, my clothes, dining out, and tons of other things with the thought that God wants us to be happy. And when I carry this to the extreme of my dishonesty in this matter, I tend to blame it on my family – it isn't fair for me to force them to give up the lifestyle I helped lead them into. But the honest reality in this is that God does not EVER promise me happiness. And he certainly never says to gain happiness from a materialistic lifestyle.

The abandonment of honesty in this example, and plenty others in my world, are examples of a lack of intellectual honesty. From Wikipedia: Intellectual Honesty: Facts are presented in an unbiased manner, and not twisted to give misleading impressions or to support one view over another. For me, this is almost an unpardonable sin. I basically live for logic, truth, and yet in the most core things to me, I am unable to be completely honest with myself.

When I refuse to be intellectually honest I start to get a distorted view of things. I start to modify how I view, treat, and interact with God. I start to change how I allow God to work in me. In the case of lifestyle, returning to my above example, my dishonesty with myself (and God) leads me to turn away from where I know God wants me to be. It takes me away from God. It in essence is me putting myself before God AGAIN, just as Jonah did. I just hope I get this handled before God causes people to throw me from their boat again and a fish spits me out where He wants me.

I think honesty with self is perhaps one of the most important things in strengthening our faith, in deepening our relationship with God. Dishonesty is the fastest, moist direct way we lead ourselves away from God for sure. In whatever form it takes, whether justification, ignoring the honest answer, or flat out lies, dishonesty keeps us from seeing God or His plans for us clearly. I leave you with a quote from an old preacher (and I mean old), "God's guidance is plain. when we are true" - F.W. Robertson.