Credibility – being able to count on the veracity of another’s word – is a huge factor in the potential quality of human relationships. The polarity that exists between political parties in the United States today very plainly paints that picture for us. So much distrust exists that there is scarcely any potential for even having a conversation on the issues. Almost no one feels that they can trust the veracity of those with whom they should be working.
In that atmosphere, assumption will almost always carry the day in terms of “hearing” the other person. Negative assumptions will be made, which again remove the possibility of any quality relationship ever developing. Speaking in Christ’s defense to a group of Pharisees, Nicodemus said, “Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?” (John 7:51). No righteous judgment can be made without truly listening to the other party.
Truly listening, however, won’t necessarily heal the breach between people if one person is simply lying. That, especially when we consider the political spectrum, is often the case simply because of the spirit that is yielded to. Again, Christ spoke of this factor in dealing with some of the Pharisees. “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44).
What, then, is the answer – whether in worldly political circles or within the Church of God? Christ’s answer to those lying to Him makes it simple, “But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me” (John 8:45). Speaking the truth regardless of how it is received is our only option. The Apostle Paul touches on all of the elements that come into play in his letter to those in Ephesus. “…that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another” (Ephesians 4:22-25).
Our Father is not a liar and His Spirit is not a lying spirit. In the context of not swearing to the truth, Christ said, “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one” (Matthew 5:37). The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary explains Christ’s words this way: “The practice of going beyond Yes and No in affirmations and denials – as if our word for it were not enough, and we expected others to question it – springs from that vicious root of untruthfulness which is only aggravated by the very effort to clear ourselves of the suspicion of it. And just as swearing to the truth of what we say begets the disposition it is designed to remove, so the love and reign of truth in the breasts of Christ’s disciples reveal itself so plainly even to those who themselves cannot be trusted, that their simple Yes and No come soon to be more relied on than the most solemn asseveration of others.”
If we seek to give our Father glory, we will do so by taking on His very character. We will speak the truth so simply and constantly that our credibility will be something that is trusted even by others who might willingly lie.