For nine years I’ve led an adult coed soccer league in the city of Tigard. This is the second year we have run the league without referees. The first season we tried it there were complaints and it was a rocky transition. It was clear that some players preferred refs because they could cheat. They could bend the rules to their advantage. If the official didn’t see the infraction, then that was part of the game.
Without referees the peer pressure to be honest is phenomenal. Suddenly, cheating comes with a steep price—people agitatedly address any player who ignores the rules. It is encouraging to see adults work through conflict via their team captains. No longer must we listen to the incessant whining of those attracted to whistle-laden judges. By no means have we arrived where we should be—but the league continues to get better, we’re becoming a trustworthy community. Hallelujah!
Psalm 51:6—But You desire honesty from the heart, so You can teach me to be wise in my inmost being. (NLT)
King David penned, “The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom; his tongue speaks what is just. The instruction of his God is in his heart; his steps do not falter” (Psa.37:30,31). If we stumble morally, it’s because God’s truth is not operative in our hearts. Honesty requires a clean interior. Honesty cannot live with these statements:
¨“I’m not really hurting anyone so what I’m doing is okay.” [The words “not really” give away the reality that deep inside we know the contemplated action is wrong.]
¨“Everyone else does it!”or “Cheating is a cultural norm here.” [This renders God’s laws subservient to whatever the norm is.]
¨“Tit for tat!” [Retaliation does not excuse falsehoods, leave revenge in God’s hands.]
“But if I tell him the truth he might be hurt.” Proverbs 12:19—“Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue, only a moment.”
By speaking falsehoods to gain temporary peace we presume to be junior holy spirits, to know what is best. If we assume that sparing someone from hurt is always better than we misunderstand pain and how God can use it to bring about growth. And, sometimes the most truthful thing to do is to say nothing.]
I am so pleased with my children watching them choose to speak honestly even when they know they give up a perceived advantage. In the gospels, 78 times Jesus uttered the phrase “I tell you the truth,” before imparting lessons to His listeners. The people recognized His divine wisdom. May it be so with us! May God’s wisdom permeate our speech because we make the conscious choice to be honest!
An honest man’s the noblest work of God.—Alexander Pope
You see, the word “sincere” comes from two Latin words meaning “without wax.” Artificers of Middle Eastern countries fashioned highly expensive statuettes out of a very fine porcelain. It was of such fragile nature that extreme care had to be taken when firing the figurines to keep them from cracking. Dishonest dealers would accept the cracked figurines at a much lower price and then fill the cracks with wax before offering them for sale. But honest merchants would display their uncracked porcelain wares with signs that read, “sine cera,” “without wax.”—George M. Bowman in How to Succeed With Your Money
Four high school boys were late to their morning classes one day. They entered the classroom and solemnly told their teacher they were detained due to a flat tire. The sympathetic teacher smiled and told them it was too bad they were late because they had missed a test that morning. But she was willing to let them make it up. She gave them each a piece of paper and a pencil and sent them to four corners of the room. Then she told them they would pass if they could answer just one question: Which tire was flat???—Paul Harvey
To be persuasive, we must be believable. To be believable, we must be credible. To be credible, we must be truthful.—Edward R. Murrow
No legacy is so rich as honesty.—William Shakespeare
People cannot say they are honest intellectual doubters if they refuse one way of getting at the truth; that is mental immorality. Oswald Chambers in The Moral Foundations of Life
©2002 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)