By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.
Proverbs 22:1 says, "A good name is more desirable than great riches." In a thousand little ways, day after day, many of us are faced with this very choice. While the great riches we're offered may not be immediate, it certainly seems that the path to money, power, and prestige are often forged with dishonesty. Having integrity, then, can be costly, but in order to lead like Jesus, we must have higher goals, and we must be submitted to the King. His ways are honest ways.
Though it may seem that carefully placed deceptions, soft truths, and white lies will bring material benefits and make life easier, in the long run, they do great damage to a leader's reputation and influence. Think back to some of the leaders in your own life whom you discovered to be dishonest. Did that not change your perception and your willingness to follow him or her? That's because there is something deep inside each of us that knows the heart of God beats for truth, and that our hearts should as well.
For some leaders, lying holds no temptation. But most of us find it easy to misuse the truth, to compromise the truth, to stretch the truth, or to speak the truth with the wrong motives and without love. The leadership style of Jesus reminds us that authentic leaders must always speak the truth, always live the truth, and always handle the truth with love.
When Jesus spoke the truth, some people were attracted, but many people were repelled. Once, when He spoke the truth, the crowds deserted Him (see John 6:66). He could have made Himself more popular by shading the truth or stretching the truth. But Jesus is the truth. He cannot deny the truth because He cannot deny Himself.
Are there certain situations where you find yourself bending the truth to please people? What do you think would happen if you opted for complete honesty instead? Ask God to forgive you where you've compromised and to give you the strength to speak the truth in love the next time around.
Prayer: Father, I admit that I have sometimes used lies to get ahead and get what I want. Forgive me of this treacherous sin. Guard my lips and my heart that I may not speak untruths. Renew my courage to speak as You would lead. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"Do not lie to each another, since you have taken off your old self with its practices" (Colossians 3:9).