By: Brian A. Yeager
How many times have you asked someone how he or she is doing without really wanting the answer? What if that person decided to actually tell you how he or she was doing and it turned into more than just a “pleasantry”? When someone sneezes, it is common for someone to say, “bless you”. Have you said that? What does that statement mean? Should we use the term “bless” so loosely (Psalms 106:3, Luke 11:28, and James 1:25)? Have you ever offered someone help by saying, “if you need ANYTHING give me a call”? Did you mean it when you offered it? What if they do call and need something? Have you ever said, “thank you” while you really weren’t thankful for what someone said or did? Why did you express thanks for something you’re not thankful for?
People try to be pleasant and say things that they really haven’t thought through. It is not at all wrong to be pleasant. We all should be kind and friendly to others (Proverbs 18:24, Romans 12:10, Ephesians 4:32, and Colossians 3:12). Yet, we have to think through what we are saying (Proverbs 15:28). We must not say things just for the sake of saying them (Proverbs 10:19 and Ecclesiastes 5:2). Our words and actions should always be sincere.
Having A Godly Sincerity In This World
The Apostle Paul is an example for us to follow (I Corinthians 4:16, I Corinthians 11:1, and Philippians 3:17). Notice what example he left for us in how we live in this world: “For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward” (II Corinthians 1:12). Paul later told Titus to live the same way: “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you” (Titus 2:7-8).
Being a sincere person is not just something we do on occasion. We are to be and continue to be sincere until our Lord returns (Philippians 1:10). When we offer help or ask questions we should really mean what we are saying. When we do something our motives should be sincere. You should have the reputation of being an honest person (Romans 12:17). Insincerity does not come from honest people.
It Is A Matter Of Honesty
When people talk or act without sincerity that person is being dishonest. Notice the following Scriptures: “Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face. For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue… A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin” (Psalms 5:8-9 and Proverbs 26:28). Flattery is lying (Psalms 78:36).
The Scriptures teach us not to lie. Notice: “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another… Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds” (Ephesians 4:25 and Colossians 3:9). Knowing these things, we have to question ourselves if we find that we use untrue pleasantries. It is not a small thing to be a liar even if you’re doing so with good intentions. It is not a small thing not only because of it being a sin to lie, but it also reveals something about your heart if you can say things you don’t mean.
An Issue Of The Heart
Jesus said: “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7:21-23). Clearly, when you or I can say something or do something deceptive we have a heart problem. Once we enter into the defiled state that deception causes, purity will escape us causing our thinking and conscience to be defiled (Titus 1:15).
You and I have to understand how important it is to have a clean heart. The obvious fact is that we cannot have a relationship with God when our hearts aren’t right (Psalms 24:3-5 and Acts 8:21-23). In addition to the obvious, we have to understand that impurities in the heart will prevent ever having a relationship with God (Luke 8:4-15). So, what should we do with that information?
Putting It Into Application
When you can control what you say and what you think you are in a good position to run the race to eternity with God (James 3:2 and II Corinthians 10:5). Thus, if you find that this article applies directly to you, start controlling yourself. Stop saying things that you don’t mean or haven’t thought through. Realize that the problem is not just in your words though. Realize that you have to change what caused those words to be spoken in the first place. Don’t trust your heart to be the right source of your words and actions (Jeremiah 17:9-10). Start acting and speaking from your spiritually converted mind (Romans 12:1-3).
You might be trying to brighten someone’s day when you try to flatter him or her. Those things don’t matter though. When you are being deceitful you are putting yourself in a horrible spot. You might be making someone feel good with your empty words, but you are not pleasing God. Consider, in conclusion, where you put yourself with God when you talk insincerely: “For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity. Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man” (Psalms 5:4-6).
Volume 13 – Issue 28 - March 31st, 2013