Links Daily Devotional

Plain Truth

…keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. (Psalm 34:13, NIV)

Single golfers raised a ruckus not long ago when the USGA decided that it was no longer acceptable for a person playing alone to post a score. What about the integrity the game’s protectors had always enforced? Were they now saying golfers aren’t to be trusted?

It is a good practice for us to listen to what comes out of our mouth. Do our words carry truth?This is serious business. A large chunk of golf pride rests on the foundation that golfers don’t cheat. Some do, of course. And we nearly all play relaxed rules under casual circumstances (the equitable score control that sets maximums according to one’s index, for instance, means that we pick up rather than putt all the way out when we’ve made a mess of a hole).

But those who ignore the fullness of the rules—either intentionally or by lack of complete knowledge—are beside the point. What we prize are the stories of players who call penalties on themselves when no one else sees the infraction. These form the bedrock of the game’s reputation, and of its pride in that reputation.

So why can’t a lone golfer post a score at the end of her round? Here, the question of integrity meets a firm test.

I wonder how often we men and women of Christ question our integrity. Where would we start?

A common definition of integrity suggests that it is measured by what we do when no one is looking. That is only partly true. We would certainly include verbal honesty in the realm of integrity, and lies are told in public. They are spoken out loud.

One of Scripture’s common refrains addresses what we do with our lips. It lays a standard for our speech. Eve was seduced by a lie: “You will not surely die” (Genesis 3:4). The Ten Commandments include the injunction against false testimony. David’s line in Psalm 34 attaches truthtelling to a long, good life. Jesus said most simply, “Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’” (Matthew 5:37). Paul urged wholesome speech, James lamented the discord of the tongue, and John tied our spoken statement of faith to our obedience in the strongest of observations: “The man who says, ‘I know [Christ],’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4).

Sooner or later your integrity will be tested by the things that you say. At least to one other person. Often to more. A liar, it is said, must have a very good memory, for he will be called on to repeat his lies again and again.

It is a good practice, then, for us to listen to what comes out of our mouth. Do our words carry truth? If so, we honor the Lord in the way we speak. Our reputation will be one of integrity.

Jeff Hopper
June 14, 2017
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