We’ve all done it:
We exaggerate numbers.
We fudge on details.
We knowingly mislead people for personal gain.
We say things we don’t mean.
Maybe worse than all of this, preachers sometimes stretch the truth for the sake of making a point while preaching. Not only is this accepted as normal, many times this kind of behavior is rewarded. Some of the most beloved preachers are full of baloney! It is considered as charisma!
Most people may think this type of behavior is harmless, especially since everyone seems to do it. My question for Christian leaders is, why? Why do we feel it necessary to stretch the truth for the sake of the ministry?
We want to appear better than we are. We feel insecure about our performance. We are in competition with someone else and we need the upper hand. There are short-term advantages to stretching the truth.
Our job may be in jeopardy. People respond to sensationalism. And a myriad of other reasons.
There are some important facts about stretching the truth that we should realize:
- God knows the truth and expects it out of you.
- People can spot a phony a mile away. They may appear that they are OK with it, but they will ultimately not trust you. People hate to be deceived.
- Your conscience will and should bother you when you lie.
- The blessings of God will be limited if you insist on deception.
- You reap what you sow. Deceivers will be deceived by others.
God makes it clear. Integrity is not optional. Ephesians 4:25 says, “So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.” (NLT) It can’t get any clearer – we are supposed to tell the truth.
Christians, let’s do better. Our integrity is a stake. We must be authentic. People can see through our deception. And worse, God knows when we are being dishonest.
If we commit to be honest in our dealings with other people, God will bless our work for Him and we will be able to measure the long-term positive results. We are doing His work, after all.