I can remember the days when a man’s handshake was his contract and word. It was important to a man to honor his word and to prove his integrity. There were no lawyers, not a 50 page legalese document to sign or vengeful threats. A man’s word was his bond.
What motivated a person to keep their word in an agreement? It could have been anything to several things. He desired to live a life honorable to God. He had a fear of God. He had a fear of repercussion and consequences. When the world was smaller and people lived in smaller towns their livelihood depended greatly on their integrity and honesty because if word got out (and it would) this person business would have been destroyed.
We live in a different world now. Dishonesty, cheating, corruption and lying have become the norm instead of the exception. Many people would choose to lie even though the truth would have been acceptable. Many have no problem laying their hands on a Bible and lying in a court of law. They say you can always tell when a politician is lying. It’s usually when his lips are moving. There are many who will say whatever it takes to get them what they want. If it’s to get elected, make a sale, get her into bed or simply deny something to avoid discipline or conflict.
One of the consequences we all have had to pay is to have contracts and legal documents and these are even iffy. Then there are lawyers whose job is to find loop wholes in these contracts. It our “enlightened” society there is many situations that encourage us to do wrong legally.
Now to bring it down to where we live: Do we cheat on our taxes? If we’re over changed at a store do we make a point to inform the cashier? If we are overpaid at our jobs do we make them aware of it? Do we arrange cash business to lie on our income? Do we flirt with others even though we are married? Do we tell friends the truth when they ask us difficult questions or tell them what they wish to hear? I could go on, but I think you get the point.
The Bible has become a book of suggestions instead of commandments. People do as they wish because there is no fear of God any longer. Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law. For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws. For the same God who said, “You must not commit adultery,” also said, “You must not murder.” So if you murder someone but do not commit adultery, you have still broken the law. James 2:8-11
The Reward: There is nothing more powerful and healing than a clear conscience. A clear conscience will grant you health, sleep, peace, genuine love and strength. There will be no more looking over your shoulder and wondering if the ax is going to fall on you. When you see a policeman is doesn’t affect you. When you’re called into the boss’s office you’re not overcome with fear. When you are with your spouse there is no shame or fear. The list is extensive.
I have been guilty of so many and still struggle with some. However, I would not exchange a clear conscience for anything. It is the one of the most powerful and freeing assets anyone could have. It’s another word for FREEDOM..