Some People Are Just Too Nosey

Some People Are Just Too Nosey
By: Rev. Joe Kramer

One definition for nosey is” offensively curious or inquisitive.” One individual can do acts that a Christian doesn’t approve of (I am not talking about overt sinful acts, i am talking about those things that are not). However, the question should be asked. Is this individual doing anything overtly sinful, unethical, or immoral? If the answer is NO, then perhaps the problem isn’t with their actions but your perception of their actions.

Today we will be looking at Romans Chapter fourteen in three parts. If we want the church to thrive then we need to mind our own business. We must not judge things that have no eternal value, we should not abuse our Christian freedom, and everything we do must be done in faith.

 

We must not judge things that have no eternal value

Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. 2 For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. 3 Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. 4 Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. 5 One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
-Romans 14:1-9 (NKJV)

Christians are not to act from emotion, but from settled inward convictions that are the result of diligent prayer and study of the Word of God. There would be no serious problems if every Christian acted from conviction. Someone has said that opinions are what we hold, while convictions are what hold us. The stronger Christian is not to despise the weaker one in their immaturity; neither is the weaker Christian to judge the more mature brothers and sisters for their freedom in Christ. In Christ both are Christians, so we should remember that in our dealings with each other. Our lives are to be directed by Jesus, not by people’s ideas or judgments. Mature Christians know why they have acted the way they have acted and have no need for someone to approve or disapprove their actions. All they care about is How God looks at their actions. Why? Because they have put thought, prayer, and conviction behind the action they have performed (for the most part anyway, we do sometimes make snap decisions).

 

“I’m living my own life!” is a statement no Christian ought to make, because we belong to Jesus Christ, whether we live or die. He is the Lord, and we must live to please Him. So often the Christian who has sin in their life, a little white sin or whatever, can’t say they are doing anything “unto the Lord”; because they are truly practicing their so called Christianity from a place of selfishness and not as unto the Lord.

 

We should not abuse our Christian freedom

But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written:

          “As I live, says the LORD,

          Every knee shall bow to Me,

          And every tongue shall confess to God.”

12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way. 14 I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. 21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.
-Romans 14:10-21 (NKJV

We are not judgment seekers, but fruit inspectors. Some people who judge how other people behave or the acts they do will look at that Christian and see good fruit. Why? Because maybe what they are doing isn’t sinful, maybe you are living under the conviction God gave you and they are living under the conviction that God gave them. We have no right to judge our brethren, for we will all have our works tested at the judgment seat of Christ—not the White Throne Judgment, but the testing of the Christian’s works after the church is called home. We do not have to give an account of our brother’s life, so we have no right to condemn him today. Certainly all of us want to live lives that will stand the testing of Christ, lives that will win rewards for His glory.

There is one thing we should judge: we should judge ourselves to see whether we are abusing our Christian freedom and making others stumble. Certainly nothing is unclean of itself, but some practices and habits are considered unclean by others. Therefore, if we deliberately do something that makes our brothers stumble, we’re not living according to love.

It is a serious thing to cause another person to stumble and fall into sin. In Mark 9:33–50, where “offend” means “cause to stumble.” The believer who holds on to his questionable practice and causes another Christian to fall in their walk with God. This person is blind to the price Jesus paid on the cross. Our good should not cause evil talk. The Christian life is not a matter of eating or drinking (or any other practice), but one of righteousness and peace and joy, all of which come from the Spirit. Our aim should be not to please ourselves, but to build up other Christians in love. 1 Corinthians 10:23 states that all things are lawful for the believer, but not everything builds us up or helps to build up others. How selfish for a Christian to tear down another believer’s spiritual life because of his own selfish living (or prideful arrogance). Their practices may be lawful, but they do not come under the law of love.

 

We must do everything by faith

Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. 23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.
-Romans 14:22-23 (NKJV)

The Greek word for “faith” in v. 22 means almost the same as “conviction,” for our convictions are born of faith in God’s Word. These two verses lay down the principle that the Christian life is between the believer and the Lord, and that the believer must always be sure they are right with the Lord. If there are doubts about some of their practices, they can’t have joy and peace. Verse twenty three reads that the Christian is condemned. That is, the Christian who engages in practices with a doubtful mind is condemning himself and those practices by his very attitude. Whatever we do that is not of faith is sin, for the Christian lives by faith. Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by Word of God.” Anything I do that I can’t back up by the Word of God is sin. If it isn’t in the Word I can’t possibly do it in faith, therefore it is sin, plain and simple.

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Don’t Let Your Past Dictate Your Future!

Don’t Let Your Past Dictate Your Future!
By: Rev. Joe Kramer

Far too often people don’t own up to their own actions about a given situation. Far too often they let people and happenings from their past dictate their future! Will you be one of those? Or will you move on with YOUR LIFE.

 

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
– 2 Corinthians 5:10 (NKJV)

You know Christians often complain about the circumstances they find themselves in and we have all been guilty of it at some point. The problem is that with this culture we forget that it is not the circumstances that brought us here but how we respond in them as to how we will be judged by God.

Too often Christians want to be liked so much (by their peers/other Christians) that they compromise and play the political games of their circle of influence. A lot of them end up being puppets for whoever the “alpha-dog” is in the group. They are too scared to stand up for what they know is right, honest, and true, even though the Bible tells them to focus on those things. Why are they scared? Because they are afraid they will lose what little influence they currently have within the group (Note: By group I mean any group or click. It could even be where you work, if they claim to be a Christian place of employment)! The sad part is that this is the mentality and actions of the unbeliever, the un-churched! This is transplanted in a place where love should reign supreme, Christianity.

Now there is a catch with this! Some people think they are standing for truth when they aren’t. They don’t follow scripture, because they don’t know scripture! A Christian should stand for what is explicitly written as right and wrong in the Word of God, not fringe/peripheral issues. A Christian should call a spade a spade from God’s Word. If there is no repentance and the politics get played, let the chips fall where they may. Remember to stand up means that a lot of times you are going to get bitten by the “alpha-dog.” When that happens you are supposed to trust in God and no one else.

Look at Elijah. He did wonderful acts for God and called down fire from heaven! But where did he end up? He found himself in a cave all by himself. Why? Because he was running for his life, and when God protected him did he thank God? No! He whined and complained about being in that cave and that he was the only one left in Israel who truly worships God! So God reminds him of all that He has brought Elijah through and tells him there are seven thousand people in Israel who have not abandoned God. Far too often Christians who have been wronged by God’s “people” end up blaming God, even though they stood up for what is right. You know what? God has not forgotten you Christian He is right there and if you listen He will tell you that you need to get busy serving Him no matter what situation you find yourself. Remember God is bigger than you circumstances.

God knows where you have been and where you are going. Just let Him work all things out for you. Also remember to take responsibility for your own actions in any given situation, because more than likely you have some blame in the situation as well. God cares more about how you act than about how you were acted against.

How about you today? Are you blaming someone else entirely for some kind of situation in your life? Then stop and REPENT! Are you looking up and whining about a situation to God? Then stop and REPENT! It is time to move on in God and get your hands to the plow and start working for Him again! Will you be dragged down and turned bitter against someone? Or will you REPENT of your actions before a loving God and let Him deal with the past, while you move on with what God has for you? The Choice is yours.

Is the Church Really Necessary?

Is the Church Really Necessary?
By: Rev. Joe Kramer

Not only is this a good question, but one that at this juncture must be asked! The church (universally speaking) has a ton of faults and failures. We must ask, is the church what God really wants? You may say the church has a lot of excesses. I will concede that point (see previous articles which talk about some of the problems with the church)! That being said, is it really necessary to God’s plans? Find out in today’s article.

4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture,

“Behold, I lay in Zion

A chief cornerstone, elect, precious,

And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.”

7 Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient,

“The stone which the builders rejected

Has become the chief cornerstone,”

8 and

“A stone of stumbling

And a rock of offense.”

They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.

9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
1 Peter 2:4–10 (NKJV)

 

 

This section of scripture is all about being a living building. The mindset of the Jew was on the temple where they would worship God, but God was done with temple in Jerusalem. God was and is building something new. He is building a people who will be the temple. Not only are we (individually) His temple, but the group of people (the Church) is the place of His dwelling. The place where is presence and glory dwells. No longer is it in buildings built by men, but men have become the place where His glory will now dwell.

In verse four it states that Jesus, the chief cornerstone, has been rejected by man. Indeed He was rejected by man, primarily the Jews at this time and subsequently by many today.  The Jews continued to reject Jesus and hardened their hearts toward God. The continued rejection of Jesus today causes spiritual blindness amongst those that are rejecting Him. The rejection today is not just among Jews, but among many people from many nationalities.

Peter then makes the contrast between those that have rejected Jesus and the people he is writing. He is writing to Christians and states that they have not rejected Christ and therefore their hearts are open to God and are a part of the Spiritual temple that is being built.

Now in verse five Peter talks about this spiritual house that is being built.  He is talking about the Church. The Bible uses many metaphors to describe the church. Among them are a body, a family, and a city. Continuing his metaphor of a temple, Peter relates the church to each of us by saying that we are a holy priesthood, solely dedicated to God.  The job of a priest is to stand between God and needy individuals. This is what a priesthood was designed by God to do in the Old Testament. While it is true that we have no need for someone to go to God for us, this metaphor was not used for this meaning. This metaphor means that Christians are supposed to stand between God and the unsaved in the world and bring them to God. That is the intent of the metaphor as it is used in this passage.

Now in verse six there is a quote from Isaiah chapter twenty-eight verse sixteen. Notice that Jesus is called a cornerstone. Without going into too much detail, a cornerstone is the primary stone of a building. This stone must be laid as perfect as possible so that as things are built on top of it the building stays sturdy and does not collapse. Jesus is our perfect and Holy Cornerstone. This verse also says that the individual who believes in Christ will not be put to shame. Notice that this is an open invitation to everyone, not to the Jews only but to everyone.

In verses seven and eight it says that to the Christians (those that have accepted Him) He is precious to them, but to the ones who rejected Him he has become a stumbling block to their faith. This was undoubtedly a reference to the Jews of Peter’s day because of what they had done to Jesus. To come to Christ they had to admit that their action is what lead to His crucifixion and because of that many continued to reject Him. At the end of verse eight Peter writes that they, the Jews, were disobedient to the Word, but they were also appointed to the word. What does this mean? It means that the Jews were given the promise of the Messiah (Christ) and were to be the ones that He was coming to bless, but having the Holy Word (Old Testament Scriptures) they still rejected Him! How ironic that the ones that were the keepers of the Word of God, would end up rejecting Him!

With verses nine and ten Peter ties his thoughts together. In verse nine, Peter is moving on from those that rejected Christ and he does this with one phrase, “but you.” He says that Christians are chosen people. They are called to do ministry and are called to be the informers of God’s Word and proclaim the good news of Christ.  In verse ten we find that Christians were not always God’s people, but they are now His people through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus has taken many people from all nations who had no affiliation with each other and builds a spiritual church on the earth to proclaim who He is and what He has done for the world. These people will be His witnesses throughout the world. It is because of this marvelous transcendent organization that people will be brought to salvation and cleansing so that they can be put right with a Holy God.

So in this text we have seen that the church is not only necessary but the primary way in which God has decided that the world should come to know about His marvelous plan, even with all if its’ faults and failures. So the question is what are you doing right now in your church? Are you one who is causing some of these failures? Or are you one who is going to co-labor with Christ to try to spread the good news of what God has done for us? The choice is yours.

I AM A CHRISTIAN, I Am Not Supposed to Feel Negative Emotions?

I AM A CHRISTIAN, I Am Not Supposed to Feel Negative Emotions?
By: Rev. Joe Kramer

Too many Christians just act as though you should ignore things that happen to you, but that isn’t a proper response to life’s situations and circumstance. Nor is it a proper response to dealing with the grief that ensues. Psychology in our Christian Churches sometimes gets a bad name. I would like to say that psychology that affirms scripture is very helpful. Today we will be looking at the well-known model of the 7 Stages of Grief influenced by a Biblical Response.

Please remember that all of creation has been marred by sin, which is why grief has entered into creation. When I make this statement a lot of people like to ask if I believe that grief would not have existed if mankind hadn’t fallen into sin. I believe that it wouldn’t have, at least not as we know it today.

Now, let’s move on. The 7 stages of grief are generally accepted today in the world, but should they be adopted in Christianity? May I submit, yes (I speak as one who has done Christian counseling). Remember that good science just observes things and asks if it is repeatable (I know not a very technical definition).  So I believe that the seven stages generally hold true for people suffering some kind of loss. Some people will skip certain steps or become “hung up” on a step and a minister’s job is to help them through them. Now let us briefly go through what the steps are from a Biblical Perspective.

  1. Denial/Shock Have you ever heard the term, “he/she is just numb to that fact?” This basically describes this stage. People tend to isolate the news from their own minds so they won’t get overwhelmed. King David did this when his son Absalom (who tried to usurp David) died. He was, at first, completely numb. We find this in his commander’s statements after he saw the king and gave him the news of Absalom’s death.
  2. Pain and (or) Guilt – As shock begins to wear off we find that the experience has caused pain and guilt, unbelievable guilt. This happened with David at his son’s death; he wished it had been him instead of his son A lot of the time guilt becomes associated with this when we ask, “If I only did ______.” We need to remember that what has happened has happened nothing can change it.Another problem begins when people try to medicate the pain, get rid of it instead of feeling it and allowing it to happen. As Christians we should not be crying out to God asking why this has happened, but rather asking God to walk through it with us. Asking God what to do next, go to Him on our knees. Don’t become one who avoids pain, but one who walks with God through the pain.
  3. Anger– Ephesians 4:26 states that you CAN be angry, but it also says to not sin. Too many relationships are destroyed over people lashing out in anger. Yes a situation that is hard to deal with will come to anger! But do not act out of that anger and do not fall into the temptation to scream, “why me?” A lot of people turn away from God in anger and eventually come back (some never come back). Please don’t be the person who walks away and forgets about God. I have seen too many people do this in their lives because of a situation (i.e. death, anger at someone who hurt them, broken marriage, loss of a job, loss of a title/position etc.). In this stage it is important to draw strength from God and from His Word. Don’t allow yourself to get stuck in this state because anger can become bitterness quite easily, and bitterness is like a cancer to our souls.
  4. Depression – During this time your situation “sinks in.” You have come to realize the true magnitude of the situation. You isolate yourself for a time and begin reflection on what has happened and what should/shouldn’t have been done before, during, and after the situation. A lot of people will try talking you out of this step. DON’T LET THEM!  They mean well and think you should be getting on with your life and looking to the horizon, but it isn’t time for that yet. You must go through this step. To short circuit this step could very well short circuit what God wanted you to learn about the situation and your responses.
  5. Moving UP – During this time is where you become organized and begin to feel more at peace, relying on God and allowing your relationship to deepen with Him and you begin to adjust to circumstances and begin to “feel” better. The problem is that a lot of people think they have “made it” when they get here, but they really haven’t, they are on their way.Another possibility here is to think grandiosely about the future with no realist expectations. Don’t allow yourself to go there. Just relax and begin to allow your mind to stand in God’s peace.
  6. Rebuilding– During this stage you become more functional. You become able to look at things objectively, not through colored glasses of emotions. Just sit back and allow God to work with you and through you to make your life better.Stay on your knees in prayer, because this is the time when the devil will tempt you with things that look good, but aren’t God’s perfect will for your life. Remember this is a time of drawing close to God and a time to bask in His presence. Not a time to be doing grandiose things, but living in the reality of what “is” and the hopeful expectation of the future.
  7. Acceptance – A lot of people will tell you that acceptance returns you to the way you were before the situation. This is not the case. The situation, especially for a Christian, has changed you and molded you to who you are today. In this stage you have dealt with the situation, the emotional issues and moved forward in reality. You have become who God has molded you to be through the trial. Now your expectations for the future are realistic and you are better for going through the trial, perhaps a little more humble/down to earth.

You know as Christians we tend to get stuck in one of these stages and don’t make it to stage 7. It is important that we make it through to stage 7; if we don’t then we have learned nothing through our trial. We have short circuited God’s work in our lives. Will you short circuit God or will you be changed through the stages of grief?

A lot of people ask what kind of circumstances I am talking about. Well, it could be the loss of a loved one, or the loss of a job, anything that you hold dear; maybe a loss of a relationship amongst Christian brothers and sisters that you never saw coming. It truly could be anything you hold dear to you. There is one scripture that has always stuck with me throughout all of my trials. It is the following:

(6) For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
(7) He holds success in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
(8) for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.
-Proverbs 2:6-11 (NIV)

Man, You Are Ugly!

Man, You Are Ugly!
By: Rev. Joe Kramer

In our lives as Christians we make lots of judgments about people, whether we know it or not. We should stop this behavior. Today we are exploring what the Bible says about Favoritism.

(2:1) My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. (2) For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, (3) and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,” (4) have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?

(5) Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? (6) But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? (7) Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?

(8) If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; (9) but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. (10) For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.
–James 2:1–10 (NKJV)

Today is all about clicks. It is about favoritism.  Favoritism seems to be a part of life and you see it wherever you go. The “haves” and the “have nots.” In business and in life we have come to expect it and have even come to accept the attitude. Unfortunately in our churches this shouldn’t be the case. Too many people in churches tend to play favorites.

James rails against this in our passage today. He says that this should NOT be the case. James uses two different people that couldn’t be more apart. He uses a rich man who dressed wonderfully in fine clothes (surely he will bring us a lot of money) and a beggar walks in as well. Now, the one with the better clothes (money) is given preferential treatment and the beggar is tolerated. James says in verse four that these Christians have become judges with evil thoughts! How to the point James is when he calls them out on this!

The interesting thing is that in verses five through seven James brings to their attention that the poor often live by faith more than the rich (they tend to trust in their money, not all rich folks but perhaps a majority?). He says they have dishonored the poor man!  Now during that time only the rich really dragged people into court. This still happens today, but more than likely the rich (i.e. money, popularity, clout) drag people before the court of public opinion. They can ruin your reputation in a heartbeat. I have seen this happen many times in our Christian circles and it shouldn’t be that way.

In verses eight through ten, James reiterates that if we show partiality to people we commit sin before God, because we aren’t showing love.

But most of you are saying that this doesn’t happen today. Really, are you sure? I would disagree. If someone walks into a traditional church without a suit or tie, then they get upset at that person! I have seen people talked bad about because they don’t have money, or because they used to be a drug addict or whatever the case may be. The argument usually goes, “I don’t want to be near _________ because _____ and they used to do ________. I know they say they are a Christians, but you know…” This is still the sin of showing favoritism folks. They aren’t a part of the click. Haven’t you ever heard the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover?”

How about you today? Is there a Christian brother or sister that you have judged? Then you need to do two things. (1) Apologize to God and (2) start getting to know that brother or sister. Maybe all they need is love and they will grow out of your mentoring them in Christ?  Maybe you just need to get rid of that pride and love of money/power/clout in your heart and start loving God and the people around you? What do you think?

Questions? Comments? Concerns?

Did Jesus Descend into Hell?

Did Jesus Descend into Hell?
By: Rev. Joe Kramer

This question came in via e-mail and is a very common and appropriate question to ask.

This is a question that has haunted theologians throughout New Testament History. I have heard many people teach/preach on this subject (based on 1 Peter 3:19). Some see it as allegorical, others literal, and still others a combination of the two. So I will attempt to answer this question from a comprehensive stand point looking at the Jewish concept of Hades.

The Jewish mindset

I had a Professor once explain it the following way, which is one of the oldest explanations. This is also the way the M.R. DeHaan (a prominent theologian) has explained it in his book “Studies on Revelation” One thing to remember is that the early Christians were all Jews and their mindset was used when writing and speaking of Hades. You see what the KJV translates as hell in 1 Peter 3:19 is Hades, Which to the Jew was the place of abode for the dead. In this place there is Paradise and the placed of the damned (what we refer to as Hell).

Paradise and Hell
Paradise and Hell occupy, for lack of better accuracy in wording, a side of Hades. Paradise would be on one side and Hell on the other side (See the parable of Lazarus and the rich man).

Paradise only existed during the time before Christ. Here you will find where all the Old Testament Saints are kept. Jesus (Ephesians 4:8) leads them to heaven after his crucifixion.

Now when we look at Hell (the other side of Hades) the folks that are in the “holding chamber” (what we refer to as hell) are still waiting for the Great White Throne of Judgment, where once they are judged will be cast into the lake of fire where they will burn for all eternity. This is known as the “final Hell” or “second death”

The “final Hell” (second death as the Bible refers to it) will be the resting place of the damned for all eternity. We don’t know when it was created, only that it was created.

Conclusion

So where did Jesus go during those three days? He descended into Hades, specifically into Paradise. He said to the thief that he would be in paradise on that day of death on the cross (Luke 23:43). Then Jesus leads all that were in paradise to heaven (Ephesians 4:7-10).

 

Questions? Comments? Concerns?

God Doesn’t Care About YOU!

God Doesn’t Care About YOU!
By: Rev. Joe Kramer

 

This is a provocative title to say the least, but follow me in this thought.  When I use the word “YOU” I mean the “I” syndrome, where everything is about YOU. God doesn’t care about YOUR ego, YOUR pride, YOUR perception in front of others. All God wants is for you to be honest before Him, yourself, and others. The subject of honesty is one that we seem to talk about a lot as Christians but can fall short. Honesty is very important to God, but unfortunately it doesn’t seem to matter much today. While there are a lot of passages that talk about this, I want to highlight just a few of them in this article.

Open your hearts to us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have cheated no one.
– 2 Corinthians 7:2 (NKJV)

 ‘You shall do no injustice in judgment, in measurement of length, weight, or volume.
– Leviticus 19:35 (NKJV)

Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably. -Hebrews 13:18 (NKJV)

Honesty in Our Words

The first scripture is Paul writing to the people at Corinth, he says that he has “wronged no one,” hasn’t corrupted anyone and has cheated no one. This is a bold statement in today’s Christianity. Too many Christians are not acting in accordance with the morality of the Bible. They tell half-truths, lie, and cheat people, but they won’t go and rob a bank. No, they act more subtly than that.

I have an example from my own life. Do you know how many ministers will go into a business (barber, mechanic etc.) and demand a discount? Or say something like, “What is the Pastor Price on that?” When I was in seminary I used to see these “seasoned” ministers do this all the time, and not to other Christian business men they knew, to people who wouldn’t darken a door of a church. You know what? The business owners would usually say, out of earshot of the minister, “That is exactly why I won’t go to church, they are all money grubbing.”

This is an example from my personal experience, but what about you? Take a minute and ask yourself, “Where in my life is my morality just a little off?” Now ask God to forgive you and guide you into honest living. This brings us to honesty in our deeds (actions).


Honesty in Our Deeds

The second scripture we are looking into talks about honesty in business and how a person should not cheat someone. What first comes to our minds is “big business” but every day we have different things that goes on in our lives that can be considered “deals” and we think nothing of trying to extort an unfair price. What I find interesting is that there are a lot of “Christians” out there who will cheat someone in business! This individual would say that stealing is wrong, but will deal dishonestly with others.

Here is a question that should make you stop and think a minute. How many times have you told someone a “white-lie?” There is no such thing as a “white-lie.” A lie is a lie, nothing more and nothing less. We must deal honestly with each other, not as the immoral deal with people; we must deal with people in honesty and fairness.


Conclusion

Our last scripture comes from Hebrews and starts out by saying “Pray for us.” Why pray? Well the writer states that they have a good conscience and that they desire to continue the trend of being open and honest with people. The writer is asking for prayer so that they don’t fall into the traps of pride, ego, and perception. They don’t want everything to be about themselves! This unfortunately is where too many “Christians” find themselves!

Do you know what people desire more than anything else? I mean they desire this one thing more than Biblically accurate sermons/teaching. They desire it more than great praise and worship! The desire it more than flash and a good feeling running up their legs! HONESTY! They want true openness and honesty from Christians in churches today. They want people to be genuine and they want people to genuinely care about them! The sad thing is that there are so many in churches today that don’t care about others; they just care about what they can get out of the church. This ugly situation can be changed, and starts with just one individual. So the question for you is where are you? Are you self-absorbed? Or are you walking in Honesty in your words and your deeds? Maybe, if you find yourself in this situation, you should ask God to forgive you and ask God to give you a true heart that isn’t self-absorbed, but is more concerned with others. The choice is yours. What is the Holy Spirit putting in your heart?

If, however, you find yourself in the situation where you say to yourself that you aren’t being dishonest, I would ask you to pray to God to show you where you might be faltering in your honesty. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal it to you and I know He will show you. A lot of the time people won’t truly seek God and just go on. This attitude is a detriment to Christianity. It keeps the same old rut going. We need change in our churches and the only way we will get it is by being honest! Will you join me in asking God to show you where you are being less than truthful? The choice is yours.