God can help an honest person

Some time back, I heard an interview with Brian Williams, the news anchor who exaggerated his adventures as an embedded journalist in the Middle East. I don’t know much about the story. I haven’t followed it, so I don’t know the details. But he did lie. He told stories that weren’t true about things that happened to him. And in the interview he gave, he tried to justify his actions by claiming he didn’t mean to mislead anyone.

Seems kind of weird though, to tell a lie yet claim that you didn’t mean to mislead people. But that’s part of the rationalization we all do when we tell a half-true. I mean, it’s not like you’re even lying. You’re just not sharing the whole truth, and you’re only doing it because the whole story is too complicated. Or it’s too painful. Or it will upset too many people.

No, it’s better to just tell half the facts and let others infer what they want, right? It’s not like you’re willfully deceiving anyone. They’re the ones making up their minds about what you’re saying.

There’s something in our brains that tells us this sort of thinking is okay, but one thing I’ve learned about lies and half-truths, both: You can’t stop with just one.

person-woman-art-creative-smallToday’s verses are 1 Peter 3:10-12.

For the Scriptures say,
“If you want to enjoy life
and see many happy days,
keep your tongue from speaking evil
and your lips from telling lies.
Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right,
and his ears are open to their prayers.
But the Lord turns his face
against those who do evil.”

Lying is easy, especially when you’re trying to cover up something you’ve done that you don’t want to admit. Telling the truth is hard. Telling the truth requires humility, the willingness to accept the fact that you screwed up.

Let’s face it. We all screw up. And the more we try to be perfect, the more we screw up because we’re depending on our own strength rather than God’s. When you lie, you’re trusting yourself to find the answer for your problems. When you choose to lie, you’re telling God you don’t want His help, and He’ll honor that. If you’re intent on doing things your own way, He’ll let you.

I love the Bible. It’s practical and simple. Want to know the secret to a happy life you can enjoy? Don’t speak evil, don’t lie, and do good. Notice it says to turn away from evil, meaning that you have a choice. When you encounter evil, regardless of what it may be, you have the option to not give into it. You can seek peace. You can do right. You can look for the Lord.

And that also tells me that even if you’ve done evil in the past, if you turn away from it today, God will hear you. It doesn’t say that God watches over people who’ve never done wrong. It says God watched over people who do right. Present tense. Yesterday doesn’t matter.

We live in a culture of blame and semantics. We point fingers like it’s an Olympic sport. It’s never my fault. It’s always someone else’s. And it may feel easier to let a little white lie slip, thinking you’ll get away with it, but you won’t. Lies and half-truths have a way of coming back to bite you just when you least expect it. And when they come back around, they’re much bigger than the little white lie you let slip. And if you’re a Christ-follower? (Yes, Christ-followers lie sometimes too.) Oh, you know better than to choose to go against what God says is right.

And, yes, lying may be easier at first, but give it time. And a few years down the road, you’ll be in consequences so deep you’ll desperately wish for the chance to make a different choice.

Telling the truth today means you have to own up to your failures. It means you have to admit you’ve done wrong. It might even mean you have to disappoint someone you love. But honesty truly is always the best policy, because God can help an honest person. And other people can too.

No, it won’t be fun, but that’s the result when you screw up. There are consequences. Better to face them now rather than ten years down the road when they’ve turned into a tidal wave threatening to pound you into a pulp.

And the good news? God knows. He knows your heart. And He’s never turned anyone who came to Him seeking away.

Trust that God is in control of your future

Whenever I face major decisions in my life, I always end up dealing with some level of discouragement. Am I making the right call? Am I making the wrong call? Am I choosing this path because I’m frustrated? If I make this decision, will God be angry with me? Will He refuse to bless me if I do what I think is right?

Good questions. And they’re good questions to ask yourself, especially when you are teetering on the edge of a life-changing decision. What college will you attend? What job will you accept? What city will you live in? What house will you buy?

I’ve got a pretty big decision coming up here soon. Can’t talk about it quite yet. But it’s a doozy. And my anxieties are taking me for a wild ride. And as I was sitting in my desk chair at my office yesterday, stressed out and worrying, I looked up and asked God to show me I was doing the right thing. I felt stupid asking, honestly. Because only people in books or movies do that. And God’s not bound to giving me signs when I ask for it. But I was putting myself in knots.

And not five minutes later, God dropped a massive bag of encouragement right on my big, stupid face. It was like He was telling me, Stop worrying already! What do I have to do? And it even came from the person I least expected. God used somebody I didn’t even think liked me to encourage me and remind me that He’s in control, and He is the one who determines success. Not me.

tightropeToday’s verses are Proverbs 3:5-6.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.

This is my life verse. If you don’t know what that is, some Christians pick verses out of the Bible because they represent the kind of life they want to live. I chose this verse when I was a freshman in high school.

That doesn’t mean I always listen to it, though. No, I actually chose this verse because it’s something I strive to do on a daily basis. I don’t always listen to God. I don’t always trust Him. I mostly lean on my own understanding, take credit for His actions, and follow my own rules.

This verse is a reminder for me. No, it’s more than a reminder. It’s a 2×4, and I need to use it more often.

God says Trust! So I need to choose to trust Him regardless of my circumstances. If He has pointed me in a specific direction, I need to follow that road until it ends. And it shouldn’t be a half-hearted trust where I tiptoe ahead, terrified of what’s in front of me. No, it should be a bold, confident stride. Humble still, yes, but not afraid.
God says not to rely on my own perspective of life. That’s hard. But we can’t see life and living the way the world does and expect to be successful in what God has called us to do. You can’t serve the world and God at the same time. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t walk two roads. It just doesn’t work. You’ll fail both.

We like to make the idea of seeking God’s will complicated, but it’s not. That just means to do what God says is right. Maybe He doesn’t have specific directions like “Don’t buy a house that costs $1 million” or “Stop eating Big Macs.” But God does tell us to be responsible with our finances and to take care of our bodies, and that may look different for each person. God has told us what is right. We just have to do it.

And if you do those things, God will show you what direction you’re supposed to go. Trust Him, see life as He sees it, and value what He values—and you’ll know what you’re supposed to do.

And in those moments where you just feel discouraged, look up. God’s not too busy to reassure you. And you might be surprised how He does it and who He uses.