Develop A Culture Of Honesty
“But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the river, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).
When you don’t in a world that generally does, you stand out like a sore thumb! In other words, when almost everybody cheats, and you don’t, you are penalized. When almost everybody lies to get ahead, and you feel compelled to tell the truth, you are at a distinct disadvantage. When almost everybody uses company time for their own personal business or pleasure and you don’t, you are thought strange or even stupid.
What makes you feel compelled to tell the truth, to sleep only with your husband, to give your employer a full eight hour day, and not do your shopping or kill time online while at work? Integrity, honesty, honor, and work ethic are offshoots of your personal faith. You have some old-fashioned ideas that breed a sense of responsibility, and this makes you different and often leaves you feeling isolated, lonely, and completely out-of-sync with life today. Right?
If I have described where you are, then stand tall and realize you are not alone, and that you may march to the beat of a different drummer but your head can press your pillow at night as you say, “God, I did Your will today, and no matter how tough it is, I want to please You.”
Those who have stood against the trends of their day always are in a minority whether they confronted a Caesar and refused to offer a pinch of incense and say, “Caesar is Lord,” or couldn’t look the other way when the company was being constantly cheated by a dishonest employee.
Long ago William Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be true, and it shall follow as the day the night, thou canst not then be false to any man.” But a far greater than Shakespeare stood against the trends of His day and the power structure of corruption and paid the price of being nailed to a Roman cross. Frankly, there is always a price to pay for distancing yourself from the corruption of the culture which surrounds you, whether it is an Athanasius who stood against the religious establishment of his day, or Martin Luther who voiced his dissent at practices which had corrupted the church, or the mother who stands before the school board and says, “My son’s teacher is using language which is more fitting of a drunken partier than a teacher of children.”
One of those who walked with Jesus, John, put it like this: “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). The more corrupt our culture, the more you will stand out in contrast when you abide by your convictions, yet the more secure will be those who sleep in your home, who look to you for strength and guidance, and who will follow in your footsteps.
Deciding ahead of time which side you will come down on makes the moment of decision a lot easier. You don’t have to think about it. You already know what you are going to do.
Morality, honesty, and decency are not issues which you decide in measures. The man who cheats on his wife only two percent of the time is still immoral. The college student who cheats only occasionally is still dishonest. You are never only partly moral or 87 percent honest. You either decide that you are committed to doing what is right or find yourself constantly torn between your convictions which you can’t abandon and pleasing your culture. You cannot serve both.
Long ago Joshua drew a line and stepped across it. He said, “But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15). And when you say that, the issue is settled. The bottom line, simply put, is you’re safer when you put some distance between you and your culture.
Resource reading: Joshua 24: 1-27