(Part 7 in a series of letters called Ramblings from your Grandparents)
“For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men.” …..Apostle Paul – II Corinthians 8:21
Honesty! What a beautiful characteristic! We pray you will each cultivate honest words, honest actions, honest motivations. One lie, one dishonest action, one manipulative motive puts everything we do under suspicion. And children of God should not be following the habits of the father of liars, Satan.
Lost and Found
A dear friend of ours tells of a trip he made from Arizona to the eastern part of our country a number of years ago. He was traveling one of the interstates out west when he stopped for gas and a brief rest period. He momentarily laid his wallet on a shelf, and then drove off without it. Two hundred miles down the interstate he remembered, made a u-turn in the first forbidden spot, and sped back to the little gas station. As he entered the door of the station the owner reached under the counter and handed him his wallet. All two thousand dollars in cash was still there. The honest person who turned the wallet in was nameless, but the honest gas station owner heard the heartfelt thanks of a grateful man.
I doubt very few of us have grown to adulthood without having had our own experience with honesty. When I was just a tiny girl I took twenty cents from my dad’s dresser. He asked me if I knew what happened to it and I told him, “No.” I’m sure he questioned my honesty but he said nothing more about it. A simple incident, often repeated with small children, but it stands out clear in my mind these many years later because my conscience would not give me peace. I never told dad the truth (I should have, of course), but I never took something that didn’t belong to me again.
When one of our girls was just a little tyke she took a candy bar from the grocery counter without my knowing it. I became aware of it before it disappeared into her tummy. She, the candy bar, and I went back to the store immediately. It was a heartrending experience for her. The clerk detected her obvious pain and said, “Oh, that’s all right, she can have it.” “No,” I replied, “it’s not all right and she can’t have it.” That daughter has mentioned on occasion that she never stole again.
By comparison your mothers will probably remember friends of ours who lived near by. They had an older son who upon being discharged from the Armed Forces came home to join the local Sheriff’s Department. One day he and two of his fellow-deputy buddies went to the vending machine to get candy bars. The fist deputy got his without incident. The machine swallowed the next money and gave forth nothing. The deputies proceeded to kick the machine until they broke the glass and took the candy bar which had been paid for and a second and third one as well. All three deputies were fired. There was a horrendous roar over the incident, lawyers were hired, newsmen got into the act; but in the end the three men who were in on the theft were without jobs. That decision was right. If one will be dishonest in small matters, how can they be trusted in big affairs?
We doubt, in our current “no fault” society, if the verdict would be the same today. No matter what awful things are done there always seems to be some kind of justification for the crime, some excuse for the wrong-doing.
Living a life without reproach in the honesty department allows people to trust us….our words, our actions, our goals. I have just recently taken note that I’ve had a dollar bill and several coins lying in a dish on the dresser in the guest bedroom for perhaps two years. You grandchildren have come and gone over and over, but the money has never been touched. Thanks, kids, for your honesty!
Being honest about our motives and goals is very important, too. Grandpa and I have worked on a multiple church staff for many years. It has been gratifying and a pleasure to join efforts through the years with so many godly people who, like us, just want to do a good work for the glory of Christ and His Father!
Many years ago we had an incident arise within the church family where we were ministering. There was a difference of opinion and one person began phoning everyone to convince the congregation to vote a specific way when the issue came up. During the course of those events another person called Grandpa and said, “You better get on the phone and tell the people the other side of the story.”
“No,” Grandpa replied, “I don’t play those kinds of games. Our people will weigh the evidence and make the right decision without any politicing.” And they did (or so it seemed to Grandpa and me). There’s no place for personal agendas in the work of Christ. We all work together to bring honor and glory to His name!
Living a Truthful Life
Grandpa just finished a series of sermons on truth. He reminded us over and over again of the necessity of relying on the Scriptures for our truth. Telling the truth and living a truthful life – this is important to God.
When we were in Bible college, one of the clever things that was done often went something like this: You wanted to get a message to a friend but didn’t want to spend the coins required at the dorm pay phone to make the call. So, you would call on the pay phone, let the phone ring once (or whatever the signal) and then hang up. The person at the other end would know the message because of the pre-arrangement. For instance a student would call home and his or her parents would know they had arrived at the college safely. Not a very important deception, some would say, but a deception just the same and not becoming of a child of God. The student body was sternly reprimanded by our college President when he got word of that particular kind of thievery.
As you grow into adulthood, kids, don’t be manipulative and deceptive, but honest and straightforward. Live the same life inside the church building as you live outside. Know that God sees all, and measures the heart of man. Live in such a manner that should death come unexpectedly or our precious Jesus returns to claim His bride, you will be able to stand before Him with a clear conscience. That’s good advice for every aspect of life. Jesus said it best of all:
“As it was in the days of Noah so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man….Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this, if the owner of the home had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.” ….Matthew 24:37, 42-44
As with all of our relationship to Christ we pray you will do what is good in the eyes of God, not because of fear of punishment, but because it is RIGHT and you love God and Jesus so very much that doing other than your best for Them is not an option.
Being honest and truthful takes a lot of stress out of life, too. We don’t have to spend precious time trying to remember what we said the last time or trying to cover up our dishonesty. We have known a few people in our lifetime that we believed to be psychopathic liars. They believed everything they said though much was a lie. What a sad situation.
We’re back to “You can’t be forgiven for the sins you won’t even admit having.” Cultivate honesty of word and life, young people. Be honest with God – He knows the truth anyway. Be honest with your everyday living among the peoples of earth – it will bring you many blessed days. Being honest is not something that just happens in our lives. We choose to be honest!