The Beautiful Tongue Series: Sermon Eight
A. Who can we trust today? Truthfulness is really
suffering today! There are very few people whom we
really feel that we can trust what they say!
B. Why? Because in our world today truthfulness has a different meaning than it once had. Today it means telling the honest facts at all cost "except" when it stands a chance of having negative consequences for someone, especially the one speaking.
C. So today we not only have untruth & truth, but we also have various degrees of truth in the middle! We hear some statements that are so close to truth that it is really hard to tell if someone is telling us the truth or not!
Today, let's look at "The Truthful Tongue" and some
of these various degrees of truth in the middle and
see what we can learn to help us be better Christians.
I. First, let's look at our new definition a little.
A. "Telling the honest facts at all cost "except" when it stands a chance of having negative consequences for someone, especially the one speaking."
B. That one little word "except" has really made room for
a lot of degrees of truth. Each person now has the
choice of when it is alright to tell the truth or not!
1. If I tell her that I don't like her dress, it will probably hurt her feelings, so it will be alright to tell her I like it when I do not.
2. If I tell them the real reason that I can't come over today, they will think it isn't very important to me to come over, so I'll just tell them I'm not feeling well. I do not want to hurt them.
3. If I tell the honest truth of what I think of this product, I won't be able to sell any of them. If I don't sell any, I will be hurting my family who depends on me to make a good living, so in this case, surely it will be alright to bend the truth a little.
4. If I tell the truth about what I really think and plan to do, I won't get elected. Surely, the end justifies the means!
C. If I told you one of these pardonable untruths, and you caught me in it: the truth of what I really thought got back to you. What would you think of my word next time?
(Pause) Our word should mean something!
II. Now, let's look at some of these degrees of truth in the middle.
A. The Half-truth and the Part-truth.
This is telling someone truth mixed with
Something that may or may not be true, leaving the impression that they are both true to the hearer.
Example - They haven't been to church for several weeks (truth); they must be mad at someone! (don't really know this; it is opinion; may be false)
Not telling the whole story thus making it appear different than it is.
Example - Oh, on the way home, this gray hot rod crashed into me at the intersection of Park and Elm. He really tore up my car!
This is all true; I've just forgotten
to tell you that I ran a red light!
B. Silence at the wrong time.
1. Sometimes we can lie by simply being silent!
2. We may know for a fact that what is being said
about someone is untrue, but by our being silent,
we show that we agree that it is true!
C. Failure to distinguish between fact and opinion.
Let's look at our example again we used above:
They haven't been to church for several weeks (fact); they must be mad at someone (opinion).
Failure to distinguish between the two makes them both look like fact!
D. Using "absolute statements" too loosely.
1. You never talk to me anymore.
2. You're just like your mother.
3. We never go out any more.
4. I don't have anything to wear.
5. This car always starts right. no matter how cold it is!
6. These statements being untrue as stated mar our reputation for being truthful.
E. Failure to be "truthful about ourselves."
1. By justifying our prejudices, by excusing our mistakes, by trying to explain and justify why we have failed, and by using half-truth, part-truth, and all the above to do it, we make ourselves look good. We just can't accept that we have failed, and it comes out in the fact that we aren't truthful about ourselves.
2. We can also fail to be truthful about ourselves
by denying the God-given talents that God has given us!
III. I think a discussion about being truthful must also include
the acknowledgement there are folks like Corrie Ten Boom.
A. Corrie Ten Boom felt it was the Christian thing to do
to lie to protect the Jews of her day.
B. She is thought of as a hero by many.
C. So perhaps there are times when there are ethical gray
areas, but what can we say about Corrie’s situation?
1. She wasn’t doing it to protect herself!
2. She wasn’t doing it for personal gain!
3. There was a real justice issue at stake in her situation. This was a life and death situation!
D. We need to be careful not to use the fact that there
are gray areas (such as with Corrie Ten Boom) to give us the license to be untruthful in lesser issues!
IV. Now, let's look at what the Bible says about being truthful:
Psalm 51:6 "You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret
Prov. 12:22 "Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his
Exo. 20:16 "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor."
Eph. 4:15 "But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,"
John 8:44 "You are from your father the devil, and you choose to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies."
Rev. 21:8 "But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, the murderers, the fornicators, the sorcerers, the idolaters, and all liars, their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death."
Does it sound like God sees different degrees of truth? Can we agree that we get too slack with the truth today? If Christians are too slack with the truth, who can we trust?
A. Again, there is a lot at stake here.
1. Our witness!
2. Our reputation!
3. What people think of our church!
B. Let’s call upon the power of the Holy Spirit to help
us with this one!
C. As we have a time of commitment today, let's examine ourselves to see if we have been guilty of any of the different middle degrees of truth of which we have talked about today. Let's ask also, have we been outright untruthful?
D. Let's ask God to help us to be truthful at all times
and to bring it to our attention when we are about to
tell an untruth so that we can correct it.
E. If we will, we will be known as people of truth and
will be able to make a positive difference for God.
Time of Commitment and Prayer