Lessons in Discipleship (20) دروس في التلمذة

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LID#20 –Honesty: The Opposite of Lying and Deceit

          This is Dr. Ed Hoskins welcoming you to Lessons in Discipleship, a series designed to help new believers become established in their Christian faith.  Today’s session is Honesty: The Opposite of Lying and Deceit.  First, let me tell you a little about myself.  I am a retired physician who spent 34 years in family medicine and student health.  I became a Christian 50 years ago and was helped early in my faith by the Navigators, an international, non-denominational Christian organization whose stated goal is “To Know Christ and to Make Him Known.  I have been on associate staff with that organization since 1980.  Lessons in Discipleship is a compilation of what I learned from the Bible and under the direction of the Navigators during that time.  What I learned then I now pass on to you.  Today’s session is Honesty: The Opposite of Lying and Deceit.

Jesus had a verbal exchange with a ruler of the law, a Pharisee.  One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question, “’Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.  All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.’” (Matthew 22:36-40)

In the first commandment, Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy 6:5.  In the second commandment, Jesus quoted from Leviticus 19:18.  This 19th chapter of the book of Leviticus is largely a restatement of the Old Testament’s 10 Commandments, starting with the Holiness of God, the prohibition of worshipping idols, the injunction to keep the Sabbath, and to honor and revere parents.  Leviticus 19, in my opinion, is one of the finest teachings on the concept of honesty in the entire Bible.

Let’s look at this topic of honesty more closely.  Note how these commandments are expressed primarily in the negative aspect.

Do not steal.

Do not lie.

Do not deceive one another.

Do not swear falsely.

Do not defraud your neighbor.

Do not curse the deaf.

Do not pervert justice.

Do not go about spreading slander.

Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life.

Do not hate your brother.

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people. But love your neighbor as yourself.

Notice how Leviticus sums up this entire list with “love your neighbor as yourself.” Also note that the actual word ‘honesty’ is used only once in the Bible, “And my honesty will testify for me in the future, whenever you check on my wages…” (Genesis 30:33)   This took place when Jacob passed through his father-in-law Laban’s flocks and collected all the speckled and spotted sheep and goats. Synonyms for honesty are ‘fairness, virtue, and integrity.’  These are all character traits which are readily apparent throughout the Bible.

Is it any wonder why Satan’s character is portrayed by Jesus as the opposite of Leviticus 19?  Jesus called Satan “a liar and the father of lies” in John 8.

Let’s summarize what we’ve learned from today’s brief presentation.  First, the basis for honesty is the holiness of God.

It is seen in others when we show them the same love and care we show ourselves.  Second, the importance of absolute honesty in our lives is a summary of the rest of the Ten Commandments.  Note that whenever we are tempted to tell even ‘a little lie,’ remember that this actually denigrates the holiness of God and supports Satan, the father of lies.  Finally, by God’s grace, may we always tell the truth and show honor to others by telling them what is true.

Well, we will see you next time when we cover Lesson 21 of Lessons in Discipleship when our topic will be Financial Wisdom.

That ends today’s presentation.  Thanks for being a part.

Until next time, keep following Jesus.  He is worth it!

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