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Choosing to Be Honest

(Proverbs 11:1-15)

Lesson 12 -- first quarter 2006
May 21, 2006

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2006

Maintain personal integrity

The enemies of Nehemiah assaulted his personal character. They attributed to him ungodly motives, purposes, and tactics. Then, having attacked his integrity, they pretended to be on his side, saying, "Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together" (Nehemiah 6:7). Because Nehemiah had carefully guarded his integrity and character, he saw through their plan. He not only knew that the accusations were false, he also knew that everyone else knew them for the fabrications they were. Since he had kept his heart right, he did not have to worry about his reputation. Can we learn from that as well? Beware of giving the enemy solid ground from which to attack us! We must keep a careful guard over our own character and integrity in all things. It is never right to allow wrong, no matter how small the issue. How foolish to breach our own integrity, especially with something "little"!

God delights in honesty

God's people should be truthful and precise in their speech and in their business dealings. That is one way we can please Him. "A just weight is his delight" (Proverbs 11:1). We should also exhibit constancy and dependability that other people can count on. The strict standards we would apply to others we should also apply to ourselves. Let's not forget that God delights in accuracy, consistency, and justice.

Choose justice

Proverbs 11:1 also instructs us as Christians to relate to everybody with an impartial moral rightness. That means that regardless of circumstance and personal cost, we will do right to everyone. Justice rejects favoritism and bias. Justice measures its response according to unchanging principles and not according to changing situations and fluctuating whims. Justice opts for even-handedness toward all.

Here you have three more ways in which to live our own lives in a just manner:

When in need. If the check-out scanner overcharges me on an item, I usually don't hesitate to point that out. But what if it rings up a super sale price . . . when the sale ended yesterday? "Wow! Given the way things have been going the last few weeks, this scanner sure helped me out! If I didn't need the money, I would point out their error." No, no! Bending the rules or exceeding the limits when it comes to taxes, laws, regulations, and codes shows similar disregard for justice. Always do what is right and godly, no matter how great the desperation and urgency of your need.

When in plenty. I knew my visitor had neither potatoes nor beans nor flour nor rice. I also knew that his situation would have been different if he had been more wise in his money management. Another thing I knew was that I had both the means and the supplies to meet the need of his family. A choice for justice would not be, "I'm sorry you're having the problem . . . again. I would help you . . . again . . . if I weren't concerned about interfering with the lessons God is trying to teach you." No! Justice would conclude that my supplies were meant to help meet someone else's need.

When wronged. Years ago, a local business cost me many hundreds of dollars due to incomplete vehicle repairs. They never made good on it. Now I'm in charge of a city business directory. I believe justice would have me list them right along with other businesses, and to do so without trying to leverage that into some sort of settlement with or vengeance against them.

I challenge you to take those three examples as lights to illuminate your own opportunities to choose justice. In your relationships and responses, always make sure you choose justice. Not only will you avoid unnecessary grief, you will bring great blessing to the Just One.

"That which is altogether just shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live, and inherit the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee" (Deuteronomy 16:20).

"He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" (Micah 6:8).

"A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight" (Proverbs 11:1).

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