I was planning on saving this quality for my last blog in December, but after this past week and all that has been going on in the news and our nation’s capitol I feel like there is no better time than the present to discuss the importance of honesty and character.
First let me say, it sickened me and weighed so heavy on my heart to see all that went on with the hearing for the Supreme Court nominee this past week, and I especially hated it that you, my sweet innocent daughter, saw and heard some of it too. Accusations, heart-wrenching testimonies, broken lives, devastated families, and leaders that seemed at times more like vultures attacking their prey. How I wish I could keep you from it all. Unfortunately, however, this is the world we live in−a fallen world that needs the Lord. But I am so grateful for the conversations we have had this week as a result of all of this. Conversations that I pray you will never forget and hold close to your heart.
You see, lovey, the truth can at times be hard to find. This happens not only in politics but sometimes with people around us, and sadly, it can even happen in our own lives if we are not living with God’s principles as the foundation of our lives. It’s actually nothing new, for we can look back and see all throughout history a constant war between good and evil, right and wrong, and the truth vs. deception and lies. Knowing the wayward heart of man is why God so clearly defined and gave us a list of the things he hates in Proverbs 6:18-19: “A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord.” But the thing I want you to know is that honesty, character, and integrity is so much more than just not telling a lie. Rather, it is a way of being, a way of life, and an unwavering commitment to what is right and true in our words, our actions and our hearts. Here’s the thing though−it is not a commitment to all of this just to check the box to make sure we are being a good person and to avoid trouble. No, it is so much more than that, for I believe honesty and character flow from a heart that knows its imperfections and looks to God and the principles found in His Word to diligently hold on to and to fervently live by each day. It also flows from a heart that loves God and desires to please Him in every way. And here’s the best part: the Bible tells us in Psalms 15 that when we follow God’s ways and walk uprightly, speak the truth in our hearts, not backbite or do evil to others, not take up a reproach against a friend, and when we honor and fear the Lord, He promises that we will not be moved. What does that mean to not be moved? It means that we will have nothing to fear because our words, our actions, and our hearts are aligned with what is right and true which then in turn produces a life of integrity. It’s not that we will never slip or make mistakes. We’re imperfect humans. But thankfully when we do mess up, we can pick ourselves back up and get plugged back into the Source of power, strength, and goodness. So, it’s important to realize that in and of ourselves, we cannot live a perfect life of integrity. However, when we choose to walk with Jesus each day by spending time in His Word, in prayer, and living out His principles, we will be filled with His Spirit which enables us to live honest lives in every way.
Here are a few practical ways to break this down on a daily basis:
Honesty in our Words (TRUTHFULNESS): Do we speak the truth? This one is pretty cut and dry−our words are either true or false. Spot on or deceptive. One thing to always remember is not only does God hate lying but people do too. Once you get caught telling one lie or telling a “half” true (if there is even such a thing), how can anyone truly believe anything you say? Also, once you start telling a lie, it usually leads to another and another and another. And what may have only been intended to be one little lie to cover up something or not look bad, can so quickly turn into a habit and lifestyle. So not only does it please the Lord when we our words are truthful; it also makes life a whole lot easier and simpler when we do what is right. The Bible says in Proverbs 10:9 that when we live with integrity, we walk securely, but those who pervert their ways will become known.
Honesty in our Actions (CHARACTER): Do our actions line up with what we say? It’s always so much easier to say things than to live them. But the truth is if our actions don’t back up what we say, none of it means anything. In order to live an honest life of character, we must have standards and principles that we live by. Ones that have been decided upon and committed to long before we find ourselves in situations that test our character. As a mom, one of my biggest responsibilities is to teach these life principles to you and help you instill them within your heart. But eventually, you will be on your own and will have to make your own choices for what you believe and how you live. My prayer is that you always live for Jesus and never turn away from Him. Character is often defined as who we are when no one is around. One thing that always helped me make the right decisions as to what was right and wrong as a young person and even as an adult now is asking myself would I do this right now if Jesus were here and could see me? Would I participate in this activity? Would I listen to this music? Would I watch this movie? The reality is if we have Jesus in our lives, He is within us. He sees, hears, and knows everything we do and say. And if it’s something that would make us embarrassed or uncomfortable in knowing He sees and hears and knows all, then chances are we shouldn’t be doing it at all.
For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all His paths.
Proverbs 5 :21
It really is that straightforward. I Peter 1:15-16 says, “Be holy, for I am holy.” Holiness is not something we can achieve within ourselves. However, it is a day to day choice to live a life devoted to the Lord who loves us and gave His all for us. And when I think of what He gave for us by dying on the cross, how can we live anything less than a life that is pleasing to Him and filled with character?
Honesty in our Hearts (SINCERITY): Why do we do what we do? This is a question that requires honesty within ourselves as we consider the motivation for our words and actions. Do our words and actions come from a heart consumed with impressing others or pleasing God? Honestly, this is something we all struggle with and don’t always get right. It all comes down to asking the Lord each day to fill our hearts with Him. Left to ourselves we can be far from perfect and have the wrong motives. But a prayer I like to pray every day from Psalm 139 is this:
Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way of everlasting.
Sweet girl, as we talked about this past week, honesty, integrity, and character all matter. Ultimately, it’s not about what the people around us are saying, thinking, or doing. We are responsible for our own words and actions. My heart’s desire and prayer for you is that while you are so young and at the beginning of your life, you will choose now to live for Jesus and keep your eyes on Him and never waver. He will bless you more than you ever dreamed possible, and you will live knowing that you are living a life of integrity and character as you are walking close to Him…and I assure you lovey, there is no better way to live.
Love you forever,