#492: Dependable Honesty
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Reflections by the Pond
March 28, 2011
"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor."
There is an exquisite horizontal dimension to the Christian life. Yes, we are commanded to first look up, to focus our adoration and devotion upon the Lord God. That always comes first. But there is more that comes after the communion of worship and praise: the communion that flows from neighbor to neighbor, sister to sister, friend to friend.
We see one form of this in prayer—which is, of course, less about informing God than about informing ourselves. When we pray for a friend or family member in need, we are not telling the Lord something He doesn't know, for what sort of god would He be if He didn't already know the condition and needs of His children. Indeed, it is He who put the prayer in our heart in the first place!
No, our prayers for a brother or sister in the Lord are the means by which we remain connected to each other. Our prayers are one way in which we live outside of ourselves.
Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
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The opposite of deceit is honesty, and the distinct brand of love-energized honesty is a hallmark of the healthy family—and no less so of the family of God in Christ. The one who loves his neighbor as himself will not lie about, or to him.
Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.
Our prayers are one way in which we express our love for each other. Motivated less by human will than by the gentle counsel of the Spirit, the believer sees the reflection of Christ in the one across the way, and is thus compelled to lift him and his needs up to the throne.
And to do so honestly.
Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
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