Summary: Honesty is defined as refusal to deceive. It is a three legged stool, and unless all the three legs are equal in strength, length and character, the stool will fall down. Let us find out the three legs of Honesty
Truth About Honesty – Part II
Honesty - The Three legged stool
Main Passage Psalm 26:1-8
One couple decided to be completely honest with each other. While discussing things in a very honest way, they decided to arrive at an honest definition of the word wife. I know many of you have many things coming to your minds when you hear the word wife. But in this case, the husband gave the following definition as an expansion of the word wife. He said WIFE stands for Without Information Fighting Everytime. I know the men here might think that is a perfectly plausible definition of the word WIFE. But wait till you hear what the wife said. She said according to me an honest expansion of the word WIFE is With Idiot For Ever.
Last time when I spoke about this topic here, I introduced you to the Fraud triangle and how we can convert the Fraud Triangle into a Grace Triangle. The Fraud triangle tells us that when there is a need, when there is an opportunity and when it is possible to rationalize, we commit fraud. We studied the lives of biblical characters and early church leaders to demonstrate this happening around us. We also saw that as Christians we need not be imprisoned by the Fraud triangle and the best way to get out of the Fraud triangle is to covert that into the Grace Triangle. The Grace Triangle tells us that All needs can be met by God, the Jehovah Jireh, All opportunities are opportunities to demonstrate our obedience and faith in God and we can Glorify God in all situations.
Today I want to make it personal. How do we apply this to our own lives? How do we really be honest? To me there are three angles to being honest. Don’t be surprised, it is another triangle. This triangle is made up of self, others and God. Honesty has to be cultivated and demonstrated across all these three relationships. Honesty is not complete unless we are honest to ourselves, to others and to God. It is like a three legged stool. What happens when one leg breaks in a three legged stool? The stool falls down.
Let us look at it from the Bible reading of today. It is understood that David wrote this when he was being pursued by Saul and his men with the express purpose of slandering him, painting him as a bad person and maligning his name in Israel, so that David does not become a threat to King Saul’s throne. So how does David react? How does he respond to these false accusations and witch hunt? First he seeks God’s help in examining himself (v 1-3). Then he speaks about the company he keeps, about others (v 4-5) and finally he acknowledges his relationship with God and the need for him to come to God’s altar, God’s sanctuary for relief (v 6-8)
Let us remember that Honesty is refusal to deceive. The opposite of honesty is deception, whether it is self, others or God. Being honest means we simply refuse to deceive ourselves or others. Many people deceive themselves by thinking themselves to be greater than what they really are. They consider themselves to be “God’s gift to mankind”. This is one kind of deception. In being honest to oneself, David constantly asks God to judge him, to examine him. Let us not get it wrong. No one can claim that David was Mr. Clean. We all know David sinned many times. But what he does is he goes to God to get cleansed. Psalm 51 is a testimony about his attitude towards honesty. In Psalm 51, while acknowledging that he has sinned against his own God, he also affirms that Psalm 51:6 (NKJV) Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. That is being honest to oneself. Being honest with oneself is not thinking more of what you really are. It is not being proud and arrogant. It is not to gloat over one’s talents and skills. It is not about exaggerated self-confidence as the corporate motivators would want us to believe. It is being humble and being able to accept who we are. David realizes that he does not match up to the standard of our God. He affirms this in Psalm 143:2 (NKJV) Do not enter into judgment with Your servant, For in Your sight no one living is righteous. Being honest to oneself is about knowing where one is weak and seeking help to get over it. Being honest with self means we humbly accept who we are, just as we are made by God. Sometimes, folks, especially some Christians, go to the other extreme. They go in the self-deprecating mode and deny that God has given us any talent at all, and thus become useless to themselves, to others, and to God. They speak low of their legitimate achievements. They refuse to acknowledge and use their God given gifts. This is mock modesty. To them I have an advice. They should try saying this. “I am not utterly useless, I can be used as a bad example” God is asking us to be honest to ourselves, and to seek his help where we fail to understand ourselves. David did not ask God to forget his weaknesses, but David appeals to the Grace of God. Psalm 25:7 (NKJV) Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; According to Your mercy remember me, For Your goodness' sake, O LORD. We cannot say that we are perfect or righteous, but we can certainly be honest and not be hypocrites. This morning, let us ask God to search us, judge, us , vindicate us and protect us just as David did. Let us remember David’s prayer in these verses. Psalm 26:1-2 (NLT) Declare me innocent, O LORD, for I have acted with integrity; I have trusted in the LORD without wavering. Put me on trial, LORD, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and my heart.