June 12, 2015

Ephesians 4:25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.

I like the way the Japanese puts it: “For we all belong to one another as parts of the Body.” That’s not a reason we would necessarily think of for honesty. However, when our bodies fail to transmit what is happening, or even give false messages, we have lots of problems. Phantom pain, where an amputee feels pain in a part they no longer possess, is well known. Referred pain, not uncommon in dentistry, where a problem in, say, an upper tooth is perceived as being in a lower tooth, is also a problem. Then there are diseases that mask themselves so that the body doesn’t know it is under attack until it is too late. All of these things can be echoed in the Church, and we need to be on our guard against them. As Paul has just said in verse 15 of this chapter, “speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” All of our communication must be based on love, God’s love for us and our love for Him and for one another. However, genuine love doesn’t fail to say what needs to be said. That’s like a part of the body failing to report that it is under attack by cancer cells. It also doesn’t switch blame, like one tooth saying another one is hurting, when it is the one with the cavity. We are to walk in absolute honesty on the basis of God’s love for us in Christ Jesus. When we understand how much God loves us we are no longer afraid of the truth, either to hear it or to speak it. This doesn’t mean we have to go around doing “data dumps,” saying everything we know in every situation. We do need wisdom and tact! Also, how we say things can be as important as what we say, or our words will not be perceived as love. Even so, deception is a big no-no. There is nothing false in God, and we are to be His children.

Once again, I was enormously blessed by the environment in which I was raised. My father had a policy of absolute honesty, committed to in a spiritual experience while he was still a single missionary. (I personally think he was baptized in the Holy Spirit at that time, though to my knowledge he never spoke in tongues.) That didn’t keep me from being devious at times, hiding things from my parents and the like, but such things as cheating in school were never a temptation. I think I do have a reputation for honesty now, but I am not to be proud of it, as though I had “achieved” it. Honesty should be a given. That said, I realize that most of society doesn’t operate that way. People say what they think is expedient, what will advance their cause, as they see it, regardless of objective truth. The thing is, when we repeat lies often enough we tend to believe them ourselves! I must remember that Jesus is the Truth (John 14:6) and live accordingly. It is the devil who is the liar! (John 8:44)

Father, thank You for Your truth that sets us free. (John 8:32) May I walk in that truth always, leading others into it as well, so that together we may know Your love in truth, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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