‘Each of you must … speak truthfully to your neighbour.’ Ephesians 4:25 NIV
Telling the truth sounds simple, but it takes commitment on three levels: (1) Verbally. When you’re found out in a lie, it undermines the confidence others have in you. For example, when a husband or wife denies blowing the family budget, or covers up a drinking problem, inevitably there’s trouble. But when each knows that the other ‘will hold firmly to the truth in love’ (Ephesians 4:15 PHPS), the relationship becomes stronger and more likely to weather the storm. (2) Behaviourally. ‘Unless you are honest in small matters, you won’t be in large ones. If you cheat even a little, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.’ (Luke 16:10 TLB) Cheryl Richardson says, ‘Integrity is the key to living an authentic life.’ You become known as a person of integrity by keeping your word. So when you make a commitment, follow through—even when it costs you, and even when you get a better offer. (3) In actuality. Why is telling the truth such a big deal? Because every relationship in your life is based on trust. When you don’t deal truthfully: a) You end up losing your influence and the respect of others. b) You live in fear of being found out, which makes you insecure and forces you to live on two levels: public perception and private struggle. c) You have to worry about what you’ve said, and to whom. d) You get to where you can’t trust or believe others because ‘as you live your life, you judge your neighbour’. e) You make yourself feel better by rationalising, ‘Everybody lies.’ The trouble with that line of thinking is—you can’t trust them either!