Our theme for this month: “Character and integrity”
Our Bible verse for today: “But let your ‘yes’ mean ‘yes’, and your ‘no’ mean ‘no’. Anything more than this is from the evil one.” Matthew 5:37 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Just tell the truth”
I sometimes have to deal with a person who lies at least as much as she tells the truth, and this has been true of her for as long as anyone can remember. She always has a sad story designed to make everyone feel sorry for her, and it is almost always filled with drama, exaggeration, and outright lies to the point of being unbelievable. She has been caught in so many lies, so often, that when talking to her it’s impossible to know what’s true and what isn’t.
That’s an extreme example of a problem that exists, to a lesser degree, throughout our society today. For many people the truth is irrelevant and inconvenient. What they claim to be true in any given situation depends on what they need the “truth” to be in that moment. And if their need changes, then say does their truth-claim.
This should never be true of God’s people. Every Christian should be a man or woman of his or her word. Just speak the plain and simple truth. No embellishment, no conveniently omitted facts, no shades of meaning, just straight and simple truth. That’s what Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:37. “Let your ‘yes’ mean ‘yes’, and your ‘no’ mean ‘no’.” Nothing more and nothing less. Say what you mean, mean what you say, and let the chips fall where they may. Do it gently and in love, don’t be unnecessarily blunt or insensitive, but simply speak the truth.
One of the men I look up to and who I’ve learned a lot from by his example is General Colin Powell, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former Secretary of State under President George W. Bush. He had a list of leadership principles that he practiced in his own life, and which he taught to others, and that he looked for in the men and women he promoted into leadership positions. He called them “Powell’s Principles” and he had one about truth-telling: “Just tell the truth. Untidy truth is always better than smooth lies which unravel in the end anyway.” What he means is that even if telling the truth is inconvenient and hard, be truthful anyway.
Men and women of God should be scrupulously honest. Let your ‘yes’ mean ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ mean ‘no’. As Jesus said, anything other than that is from the devil.