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A real impediment to communication in our world today is a tendency to commit falsehoods. Everyone engages to some degree or another in telling falsehoods.

The reason why is that our culture has desensitized us to falsehood. However, the consequences of our disregard for truth are in evidence all around us. Think about it. Banks frequently will not cash checks for someone who is from out of town. Stores generally will not take returned merchandise without a sales receipt. Television monitors scan the aisles of stores looking for shoplifters.

Everyone knows what a dead-bolt lock is. We have guard dogs, alarm systems, fences, lockers, chains, safes, lie detector tests and bloodhounds. Our entire society gives evidence to our accommodation of falsehood and dishonesty.

The curious thing, however, is that we are not nearly as concerned about the existence of that behavior as we are about protecting ourselves from its consequences. We accommodate a culture given over to a misrepresentation of truth. Because of that, we continue to desensitize ourselves to the problem that plagues us.

Falsehoods are raining down on our heads through the media every day. We are hypnotized with messages to buy this soap, that spray, this burial plot, that vacation - everything imaginable. We are told they are exaggerated claims, but we accept them as part of our culture.

It Gets Worse
Worse than that, we are sold a pile of falsehoods about who we are and what is going to make us happy in life. We accept the false notion about values we should hold dear to our hearts. Then when we really get unhappy, we don't know what to blame other than, "I don't have Calvin Klein jeans. That will make me happy." Or, "I don't have a new car." Or, "I don't have a new house." Or, "Wait. I think this will make me happy. No. That will make me happy."

We are sold false notions of where happiness comes from, and we do not know how to deal with discontent when it comes.

We grow up in this environment, a culture desensitized to falsehood, and wonder why it is so easy for us to misrepresent the truth.

I read a study a few years ago which indicated that the average person tells about 200 lies a day.1 That number also includes exaggerations, which are falsehoods we call white lies. Isn't that amazing? - 200 a day.

In our casual conversation, the tendency is to shade the truth for a variety of reasons. How many of us have called in sick this year just because we did not really want to go to work? After all, we have a couple of sick days left and we don't want to lose them. So we call in sick and go fishing.

The Acid Test
Have you ever fudged on your income tax a little bit? It is ironic to me that the IRS finds virtually all mistakes to their favor. They seldom refund more money than was claimed.

If you were a pastor, you would be amazed, as I am, at the opinions expressed by married couples who are in counseling and having difficulties. If you talk to the two partners separately, you get two totally different stories. These are Christian people who are supposed to put a high premium on the truth. But talk to them separately and you will get two totally different tales; the only way to get at the truth is to get the couple together.

Or maybe someone you have not seen in a long time calls you and you tell them, "Yes, come on over. I'd love to see you." Then you hang up the phone and say, "Man, I don't have time to do this. Why am I doing this? I have to clean the house. I don't want to see that person." Well, why did you tell him to come over?

Or you are in a meeting at work and you tell someone, "Yes, I'd love to do that for you." You leave the meeting and gripe about what you agreed to do because you really didn't want to do it. You were just trying to be nice.

Or you tell someone, "Whatever you want to do is fine with me." Then he does what he wants to do, and you get upset because it is not what you wanted him to do.

We are desensitized to falsehood. We do not like honest rejection, so we do things we dislike and then grumble about it. Conversely, we manipulate relationships in order to gain what we want by imposing a sense of guilt on someone else.

Hundreds of little things we do are nothing more than propagating falsehood. We wonder why our relationships hang by a thread when, in fact, we are more honest with our dogs and cats than we are with people.

Learn how to communicate truth, and do it in love. It will absolutely transform your relationships.

Admit It, And Quit It
First of all, we must confront the fact that we have a problem in this area. We have to acknowledge the need to focus our attention on the truth and make a deliberate effort to change before it will ever happen.

What is the truth? Truth takes two forms. There is spiritual truth, and there is empirical truth, which is based on observation and experiences.

There is truth that relates to the realm of the unseen; it is spiritual truth regarding issues we cannot confirm through natural reasoning or sensory perception. That spiritual truth originates in the Bible: God is a spirit and His Word is spirit as well (John 6:63).

Therefore, to discover spiritual truth, God and His Word have to be the foundation for our search. Anything else you choose to believe has only one other source of origin-the very untrustworthy mind of man.

The Dependable Word
Your choice is pretty clear: either you choose to believe the Word of God, or you choose to believe someone's opinion. I choose the Word of God. It has come to us over thousands of years through the mouths of hundreds of prophets, and it presents a perfect picture of God's plan for man.

It is appropriate for us to engage in mathematics and science and rational thinking as it relates to this universe. God gave us our senses to perceive His creation so we could discern the truth of the natural realm. We are to use our brains for that purpose, not to try to disprove it. But be aware that you cannot use empirical truth to understand the truth which is spiritual.

Spiritual truth will clarify and illuminate empirical truths for us, but empirical truth or natural reasoning will not illuminate things of the Spirit. Why not? Because, as it says in 1 Corinthians 2:14, "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

Telling Yourself The Truth
You must be telling yourself the truth, which originates with the Word of God. You must base your life on its truth so there are no wrong beliefs to encumber your communication with other people. And you have to be very honest about your motives, your fears, your insecurities and the things that you deal with in order for your communication to be truthful. You have to tell yourself the truth about your own heart and base that examination on the single source of truth, which is the Word of God.

The integrity of your word is related to your ability to believe God will perform His Word. If you cannot trust yourself to tell the truth, how can you trust God to make His promises true? There is a link between integrity and faith.

Making It Personal
Many people wish they could believe the Word. The problem is they do not believe it applies to them personally. Lots of folks have said to me, "It's wonderful that the Bible promises healing. I want to believe that. But I haven't been able to internalize it for myself or come to that place of knowing." They have not come to that place of faith where it will produce a result.

There are others who have labored hard for years to rise above a level of poverty which has burdened them, but they are never quite able to do it. Somehow they cannot see beyond the stack of bills to believe that God is going to meet their need.

Very often and very probably that inability to come into a place of faith which will bring the answer is tied to the question of personal integrity.

"We Wrestle Not..."
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God
(Eph. 6:12-18).

God provides us with spiritual armor to enable us to stand against all the difficult times which come against us.

Peter said, "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you" (1 Peter 4:12). And Jesus said in John 16:33, "In the world ye shall have tribulation." Where are we living right now? In the world. But He went on to say, Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

The devil is going to try to engage us in battle. It could be physically, financially, relationally; it could be many different ways. But the key to standing through the battle is the spiritual armor God gives us in Ephesians 6. We must have each piece of armor in place if we are going to be able to stand. They are all important, but the one I want to look at is in verse 14: Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness.

The Breastplate Of Integrity
The Amplified Bible renders that the breastplate of integrity. Integrity is nothing more than honesty, speaking the truth and then acting upon the truth you have spoken. Notice, too, that the breastplate of integrity covers the most important part of your spiritual being-the heart.

God said that out of the heart flow the issues of life (Prov. 4:23). How is that possible? Because the heart of man in Scripture is the place where faith is conceived and belief begins. The breastplate provides protection for your heart while faith is born.

So guard your heart. Wear the breastplate of integrity and tell the truth in love, thus protecting yourself from our desensitized culture.

Endnotes:
1 Kornet, Allison. "The Truth About Lying." Psychology Today. New York: Sussex Publishing, Inc., May/June 1997, pp. 53-57.

Source: Positioned For Promotion by Mac Hammond
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Mac Hammond
Web site: Mac Hammond
 
Mac Hammond is senior pastor of Living Word Christian Center, a large and growing church in Brooklyn Park (a suburb of Minneapolis), Minnesota. He is the host of the Winner’s Minute, which is seen locally in the Minneapolis area and can also be viewed at winnersminute.com. He is also the host of the Winner’s Way broadcast and author of several internationally distributed books. Mac is broadly acclaimed for his ability to apply the principles of the Bible to practical situations and the challenges of daily living.
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