Honesty and integrity

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, `Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your `Yes’ be `Yes,’ and your`No,’ `No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
(Matthew 5:33-37 (NIV))

I am not against attorneys and legal agreements, but, what does this say about contracts? If everyone simply followed these truths, would we need to go to such great lengths to protect ourselves and our interests? Think about this. I am sure that many of you remember people who conducted business with a handshake. They made a commitment and they lived up to that commitment. They did not need documents to protect themselves and others. They simply lived by the philosophy that Jesus was teaching.

Take an honest look at society today. How many people do you know who still live by this philosophy? If they make a commitment, they fulfill that commitment. They keep their word. I would venture a guess that these types of individuals are few and far between, especially since the society in which we live now almost dictates to “Get it in writing.”

What have we become?

Honesty and integrity have to be documented, signed and witnessed. And then, if anything arises where there is uncertainty, litigation wrangles over the meanings of the words.

What would you do if God treated us in that manner?

How would you react if upon accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, God says, “Wait a minute. I have some documents for you to sign so that we can make this legal. That way, if you don’t uphold your promises, I can revoke your salvation.”

It sounds strange when you put it in this context. Now, think about the deals and the promises that we make to each other. Do we truly need to show such a level of distrust that we have to swear, or that we have to put it in writing. We need to treat each other in our dealings as God treats us – expect us to do what we say we will do and if we fail, allow redemption, allow a second chance. We are not perfect. We are a fallen race. We sin by nature. But, by God’s grace, we are forgiven. We have been shown mercy. We must extend that mercy to others.

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
(Ephesians 4:1-2 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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