Thursday, June 23, 2016

Stretching the Truth--or Lying?

Is there really such a thing as a "little white lie"?  Many times we exaggerate and misrepresent the truth in order to establish our point, or to win an argument.  At times we may even lie to protect ourselves or to make ourselves look good.  Some might suggest that deception is acceptable and even needed if a greater good can be brought about.  Is fudging a resume or being generous on one's time sheet that big of a deal--most people do it?  However, when one begins to dabble with stretching the truth they often lose sight of the offense that it is to God, and even towards others.  A non-Christian may think that this is an over reaction or taking things too far, but just how much does God love truth?  It is one of his attributes and we are told that God cannot lie (John 14:6; Numbers 23:19).

Telling the truth can be very difficult at times because it can incriminate us for not following through, or doing the right thing when we said we would do it.  Christians are told to speak truth one to another (Ephesians 4:25) and not to twist the truth.  Most parents would expect the truth from their children, but then the truth can become an option for themselves depending on their situation.  Wouldn't it be better to tell someone the truth and then in humility ask their forgiveness in order to make things right?  As hard as telling the truth may be at times, it always brings about God's best.

People should not have to guess whether or not we are telling them the truth.  There should be no need to "promise" or "swear to God" that what we are saying is the truth.  Christ simply says to let your "yes be yes" and your "no be no" (Matthew 5:37).  For a Christian, we should speak from a sincere heart and know that we are honoring Christ with every thought, word, and deed (Matthew 12:36; Romans 14:12).  Christians should be known for telling the truth and in following through on their words because it is Christ-like.

Stretching the truth (lying) can be a real temptation for Christians.  Looking for loopholes to escape what we have actually said instead of owning up to our guilt is not all that uncommon.  Integrity matters in our daily walk as it says a great deal about our relationship to Christ.  When it comes to truthfulness, Christians should stand head and shoulders above the world because they represent Christ.  Indeed, the truth may cost someone their job or even divide friends, but God is always honored in doing the right thing.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Reflections of Dad

Psalms 103:13, "As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him;"

Many of us have various reflections of our fathers while we were growing up. Not all of the memories are glamorous and some of us even carry some painful memories.  We could all probably recall times when dad "blew his top" and times when dad was the "comedian" of the family.  Some dads just did better than other dads--for various reasons. Although we certainly know that dad was not perfect, God allowed us to have the father that He knew we needed.  Many fathers worked with the best skill set that was passed along to them by their fathers.  By God's grace, some fathers really fulfilled the role of father that God called them to--despite their humble beginnings in life.

I lost my father at an early age due to pancreatic cancer (he was only 45).  During my adult life I've not been blessed to have a father to consult with on big life decisions or to just hear the words, "good job son."  However, it doesn't mean I'm not thankful for a father who worked tirelessly in a very physical maintenance job to provide for his family.  My father would have been considered an average man and he had very little high school education.  He was not a pillar of our church and some might say he was a little rough around the edges.  I would say he was definitely a man's man.  Hard work, firm hand shake, keeping his word, and staying away from girly things characterized him pretty well.  Dad showed love by telling us that he loved us and by working hard to take care of us.  As I think about it, dad may not have been even an average guy compared to some men--but he was my dad and he taught me some valuable things for this life.

I'd like to say only a couple of things about dads and this special Father's Day Weekend.  Pray for your dads and be thankful for them.  They lead up front, experience some tough pressure, and they drop the ball at times.  Remember they love you and that they may not always demonstrate the love in their hearts that they have for you in the way that they would like to show that love to you.  Please know that many of us dads wish we had the deluxe tool set passed along to us in order to be a better dad--it doesn't mean we won't try and make use of what we have.  Please forgive us (don't excuse us) as we fail to be the best example that Christ wants us to be for you.  Lastly, let us know when we could do better but also please let us know if we might be doing something right.  It is our goal not to fail at being a good father.

Billy Graham once said, "A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the MOST VALUABLE assets in our society."