During a trial, in a small Missouri town, the local prosecuting attorney called his first witness to the stand. The witness was a proper well-dressed elderly lady, the Grandmother type, well spoken, and poised. She was sworn in, asked if she would tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, on the Bible, so help her God.
The prosecuting attorney approached the woman and asked, “Mrs. Jones, do you know me?’” She responded, “Why, yes I do know you, Mr. Williams. I’ve known you since you were a young boy and frankly, you’ve been a big disappointment to me. You lie, cheat on your wife, manipulate people and talk badly about them behind their backs. You think you’re a rising big shot when you haven’t the sense to realize you never will amount to anything more than a two-bit paper-pushing shyster. Yes, I know you quite well.”
The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do, he pointed across the room and asked, “Mrs. Jones, do you know the defense attorney?”
She again replied, “Why, yes, I do. I’ve known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. He’s lazy, bigoted, has a bad drinking problem. The man can’t build or keep a normal relationship with anyone and his law practice is one of the worst in the entire state. Not to mention he cheated on his wife with three different women. Yes, I know him.”
The defense attorney almost fainted. Laughter mixed with gasps, thundered throughout the courtroom and the audience was on the verge of chaos.
At this point, the judge brought the courtroom to silence, called both counselors to the bench, and in a very quiet voice said, “If either of you morons asks her if she knows me, you’re going to jail.”
Apparently, the judge was afraid of the woman telling the honest truth about him. But that’s human nature, isn’t it? No one in their right mind wants someone to spill the beans about him or her when it comes to telling it like it is about one’s flaws or imperfections.
Politicians are a shining example. Whenever there’s a political campaign, the voters are always looking for the honest truth. How else can they make a good decision on election day? But that’s where the problem lies.
Speaking of lies….There are politicians who like to accuse their opponents of lying when they often turn out not to be so honest or trustworthy themselves. We, the voters, scratch our heads wondering what the real truth really is. People take sides according to their own prejudices and opinions. No wonder there is so much confusion in the country these days.
Earl Long, former eccentric governor of Louisiana in the 1940’s and ’50’s, reportedly once said of another politician: “You know how you can tell that fella’s lying? Watch his lips. If they’re movin’, he’s lying!”
(NOTE: Long, himself, was said to have been involved in an affair with a stripper named Blaze Starr back in 1958. It became not only a scandal but, in 1989, a comic burlesque movie called Blaze starring actor Paul Newman as Long. A that time, People reported Starr recalling that when she first met the governor, he asked her out to dinner upon which she said, “Can I trust you.” She reportedly quoted him to reply, “H___, no.”) http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20116296,00.html
Because of so many scandals and distrust of political leaders over the years, some persons deny a commitment to any particular party. Instead, they prefer the “independent” route. Perhaps that’s why it is said that an independent voter is someone who can’t decide which “truth” he likes best.
The honest truth is a lost commodity or so it appears when it comes to politics. But what about Christians? You would like to think that honesty and truth are the highest priorities for followers of Christ, not only in regard to political choices but any choice in life. I believe it all starts with one’s own integrity and beliefs.
The Bible is our basis for seeking the honest truth and pursuing it in our own lives. The Book of Proverbs has much to say about it in terms of integrity along with national security and stability. For example, Proverbs 2:20-22 says, “So follow the steps of the good, and stay on the paths of the righteous. For only the godly will live in the land, and those with integrity will remain in it. But the wicked will be removed from the land, and the treacherous will be uprooted.” (New Living Translation, NLT)
Honesty is the guiding principle of good people: Proverbs 11:3 says, “Honesty guides good people; dishonesty destroys treacherous people.” (NLT)
When there is dishonesty, there is strife: “A dishonest man spreads strife; and a whisperer separates close friends,” (Proverbs 16:28, Engslish Standard Version, ESV).
But where this is honesty, there is life for according to the Apostle Peter, “He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit, (1 Peter 3:10-12, New King James Version, NKJV).
In view of these verses, it should be evident that honesty and truth are in the best interest of all of us. Like the proverb by Benjamin Franklin, “Honesty is the best policy” to live by. And it was Thomas Jefferson who is attributed to say, “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom,” as used in a letter to Nathaniel Macon, a fellow patriot (1757-1837) from North Carolina. Honesty and truth should be seen not only in our own lives but in others, even in the politicians we might support as our leaders. Indeed, if we do not demand it then what good are we doing for the sake of our conscience let alone our service to the Lord?
If we’re honestly going to be honest with ourselves, I believe we should look beyond the rhetoric, the great sounding promises, the trumped up hype, and the false facade which prevail in this evil age. Instead, we should look deep into the actions, the attitudes, the backgrounds, beliefs, and personal motives as they become evident. And to be honest, it might mean we will have to change our minds if the real truth be known.
We must take a stand for the honest truth lest we be deceived as the Apostle Paul warned would happen in the last days (2 Timothy 3:13). We shall know them by their fruit, Jesus said (Matthew 7:15-20). We must be on guard because what seems right and honest on the surface will most likely lead to failure and destruction in the end (Prov. 14:12; 16:25). But if we strive for the honest truth and, unlike the judge in our illustration, not be afraid of it then and only then will wisdom prevail.
Here’s a neat rap song about honesty: http://youtu.be/WELkRnpfBhw
Good News to YOU!