Honesty

Posted by Jim Murphy on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 @ 6:45 PM

You’ll live brighter when you are honest.

Matthew 5:33-37

The Way They Lied

The Pharisees (the religious leaders during Jesus’ day) developed a bunch of rules about when you had to keep your promises and when you didn’t have to keep your promises. If you made a promise in God’s name you had to keep it. For example, “by God himself, I promise...”. If you made a promise on or in the name of anyone or anything else, you didn’t have to keep it. So, people would say things like “by the Temple of God I promise...” or “I swear by the Altar of God” (See Matthew 23:16-22) without any intention of truly keeping that promise because they didn’t swear by God, himself. We may not play this same game today, but we lie just the same.

The Way We Lie

  1. Exaggeration: Making something out to bigger and better, or more difficult and complicated, or easier to handle than it really is. Jesus says, “You are the light of the world.” Your light will shine bright when you talk straight without exaggeration.
  2. Misrepresentation: Talking about another person in a way that doesn’t fairly or accurately represent them; maybe making them look bad or yourself better. Jesus says, “You are the light of the world.” Your light will shine bright when you speak of others more accurately and fairly.
  3. White Lies: The little, seemingly harmless lies and deceptions. Jesus says, “You are the light of the world.” Your light will shine bright when you rid yourself of even the white lies.
  4. Casual Promises: The little promises we make in passing without any real intention of following through and keeping them. Jesus says, “You are the light of the world.” Your light will shine bright when you follow through on everything you say.
  5. Cover Ups: Covering our tracks when we’ve made a mistake. Withholding important information to keep from getting in trouble. Jesus says, “You are the light of the world.” Your light will shine bright when you are honest even if you get into trouble.

Small Group Questions

  1. Talk about the different ways we lie to each other, to our parents, to our teachers, etc. Have the kids share examples of each.
  2. Why do you think we lie like this?
  3. What’s the difference between telling the technical truth, being genuinely honest? Why does it matter?
  4. Which of these types of lies are you guilty of and what can you do to change?

Conversations at Home

The way we lie is usually picked up at home. So, obviously, the parents need to reflect on ways in which we exaggerate things in our conversations, misrepresent people, tell little white lies and say it's okay, make casual promises and easily break them, and use cover-ups for our own mistakes. The best way to help your teen learn to be honest is first to openly admit to your teen the ways in which you tend to lie and your desire to change. Invite your teen to join you in helping you identify those moments when you may be using one of these ways to lie. This helps your teen learn to discern and identify them. Of course, you the parent, will need to not get defensive when they do. Don't react when they do. You'll need to simply own it, admit it, but don't let yourself be defined by it. As time goes on, they may become receptive to those moments when you gently point out when they are being less than honest. Be sure to not over-react when they do admit it. Embrace their courage and honesty in that moment.

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These posts are from the weekly lessons at Wednesday night FUEL. They are designed to share with you an outline of the content of our discussions, the small group questions, and ideas for conversations at home. Feel free to use these for your own conversations or lessons.

Jim Murphy

Jim Murphy, Associate Pastor, NextGen MinistriesAssociate Pastor NextGen Ministries

218-751-3699 ext 14 jim@bemidjicovenant.com

 

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