Absolute Honesty; January 17, 2021

Leviticus 19:11-12 “‘Do not steal.
“‘Do not lie.
“‘Do not deceive one another.
“‘Do not swear falsely by my name and so profane the name of your God. I am the Lord.'”

Much of Leviticus is detailed rules of all sorts. For many people it is their least favorite book of the Bible, and I’ll confess that for most of my life I have been one of them. I recently read an article by someone who was saying that he had a real encounter with the Lord through reading Leviticus, and right now I feel I can understand that. There is actually a lot of genuinely inspiring – and of course inspired – material in the book. Verse 18 of this chapter has what Jesus picked out as the 2nd greatest commandment, to love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:36-40) These verses seem extremely timely and pertinent, considering all that is going on in the political world. They get specific about something that was one of my father’s guiding principles, and that I have tried to make one of my own as well: honesty. As I have told many people in recent weeks, the thing that has me most upset about what went on in the US election and has gone on since is the widespread disregard for truth. Actual vote counts, not to mention voter qualifications, were fabricated out of thin air in shockingly many cases, resulting in an outcome that cannot be seen as legitimate. All of that, and much more, has come about from many individual choices to say and do whatever fit a desired narrative, with honesty being totally beside the point. The Bible is the record of God’s interactions with flawed human beings. In stark contrast to most historical writings of thousands of years ago it doesn’t dress people up to present them in the best light, even when the person in question is greatly revered, such as David, Solomon, or even Abraham. The awareness of man’s predilection to do the wrong thing is why Leviticus can be very helpful. From our current viewpoint in time, many if not most of the commandments might seem to go without saying, but experience tells us that we indeed need to be told, until we have the Holy Spirit living inside us to keep us on the right path. When we do have Him, detailed lists become unnecessary.

I well remember when my father told me about the conference he attended in Yokohama as a single missionary at which he encountered the Holy Spirit in such a way that for the first time he really grasped what it was – and is – to be in Christ, even though the use of the term, and related ones, in the Greek New Testament had been the subject of his doctoral dissertation. The conversation is etched in my memory because it was during the brief period, from the first of March to the middle of May, 1974, that we really related as adult men, brothers in Christ, after I had brought my wife and children to Japan for the first time and before my parents left for the furlough from which my mother would bring back a box of ashes. In that conversation my father told me that the speaker at the conference had stressed “Five Absolutes” that are called for in our walk of faith. He was honest enough to say that he didn’t remember all five, but that one that had remained with him as a foundational principle was absolute honesty. I had certainly seen that in him as I grew up, but having him articulate it to me was very meaningful, and I have sought to maintain that same principle in my life. That’s hardly a popular lifestyle these days! Having that principle myself is what makes it so painful to see all the falsehood around me. However, I’m not to let that pull me down, but rather rest in the One who is Truth itself, and know that in the end, all falsehood will be swept away and only Truth will remain.

Father, thank You for this reminder. I do continue to pray that Your truth would prevail, in government and in every area of life. Thank You for how so many falsehoods are being exposed. May indeed Your name be recognized as holy and Your kingdom come as Your will is done throughout this earth, as perfectly as it is in heaven. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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