A few years ago , a great story came out of Minnesota. During a celebrity hockey game in Faribult, the organizers held a contest during halftime where they drew a ticket, and the lucky winner got a chance to win $50,000 if he shot a puck through a small hole 90 feet away.
An 11 year old boy’s name was called, but he had stepped outside so his father switched him with his twin brother. Breaths were held as he sized up his opponent, 90 feet of friction and a hole barely wider than the puck he was shooting. The crowd was on edge as they watched the puck slide toward its goal, and then they cheered in a raucous uproar when it went in!
The next day, their father called and explained that it wasn’t the son picked that made the shot, rather it was his twin.
The insurance company that held the contest decided to withhold the money. If the father never called, they would have gotten away with it.
He was quoted as saying their motivation for their actions. "We thought honesty was the best policy, and we wanted to set a good example for our kids,"
Integrity, it’s what is ordered.
James has told us that instead of promising, swearing or taking an oath, we simply need to say yes or no and mean what we say.
The reason people want us to promise is because so many people lie on a regular basis.
This justification in fact has invaded the church. People read the story of Ananias and Sapphria (Acts 5:1-11) and are shocked that God would kill them over something so ‘seemingly’ small. They have completely lost touch that lying is a sin against God.
What both the world and the church needs is to be made free from deceit and dishonesty.
Paul told us; (Ephesians 4:15) But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
So how can we practically live out James 5:12?
What can we do to promote and cultivate a habit of honesty and integrity in our lives?
1. Recognize that dishonesty has no place in the life of the Christian or the church.
2. Realize that our words give away the true nature of our heart. Jesus told us,
(Matthew 15:18-19) But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.
3. Instead, we have to saturate ourselves with the word of God. Let it soak into our lives. It is the Word that changes lives. (John 17:17) Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
4. We have to guard our mouths. Much of our dishonesty comes from carelessness. Speak with measured words.
May God help us as we seek to be men and women of honesty and integrity.
Ryan King is minister at Bethel Baptist Church in Westville.