“It takes a woman of courage to show the world her flaws and failures.” ~ It’s Good to Be Queen
Chapter Five: It’s Good to Be Honest
As a kid, I loved watching the classic game show, “To Tell the Truth.” A panel of celebrities matched wits with three guests—two imposters and one person who was telling the truth. Each time a celeb voted for an imposter instead of the real person, the guest won $250. (Hello, 1960s.)
I’d rather not be less than truthful on national television—even in fun, even with a cash reward. First, because I blush when I tell a fib. Every time, without fail. I think it’s part of God’s plan to keep me honest. And second, He commands us to “speak the truth to each other” (Zechariah 8:16) and “not tell lies about others” (Exodus 20:16).
Dishonesty isn’t an option for believers. Honesty is how we do life and how we grow: “Speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ” (Ephesians 4:15).
Honesty is also at the heart of every healthy relationship. We start with being honest with ourselves. Then with the Lord. And then (oh, so bravely) with others.
Sheba, our role model, shows us how.
She said to the king,
“The report heard in my own country
about your achievements
and your wisdom is true.”
1 Kings 10:6
She could have stopped right there. Affirmation spoken. Enough said. Still, it wasn’t the whole truth. Being honest means holding nothing back, especially if our confession will bless the other person and glorify God.
“But I did not believe these things
until I came and saw with my own eyes.”
1 Kings 10:7
Well done, Sheba. This word “believe” also means “to confirm, support.” She admitted she could not embrace the reports about Solomon until she examined them in person. For Sheba, seeing was believing, and she was not ashamed to say so.
God was already working on Sheba’s heart, showing her the value of being transparent, so that—three thousand years later—we might see it too. Isn’t the timelessness of His Word amazing? Always relevant, always life changing.
I might have kept that second bit to myself. Just told Solomon, “Wow! Everything I heard about you is true.” But Sheba took a leap of faith. Rather than trying to impress him, she confessed how fully he had impressed her. She lowered herself to life him higher.
This is precisely what God is asking us to do regarding His Son. “He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30), or as I first memorized it from the NASB, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Humility, then honesty. That’s His plan for us. Instead of demanding our rights, we admit our wrongs. Rather than pushing for first place, we gladly choose second place, third place, last place, grateful to have any place in His kingdom.
Each episode of “To Tell the Truth” ended with the host asking, “Will the real ________ please stand up?” A great question to ask ourselves daily when we rise from our beds: “Will the real Lizzie—Amy, Susie, Kathy, Debbie—stand up?” Will we speak the truth, even if it hurts? Will we own our past, embrace our present, and look forward to our future without denying or lying or dying inside?
Say yes, my sister.
It’s not our imperfection that gets in the way of God’s message—it’s our striving for perfection. (I am preaching to myself on this one, trusting that a few others may need to hear it as well.)
Suppose I answer one of our Study Guide questions, then I hope you’ll do the same. We’re definitely on this journey together, beloved.
From the Study Guide
2.a. Of the dozen fears that keep us from saying, “I made a mistake,” which one(s) have you wrestled with?
Lack of empathy
Loss of respect
Since this chapter is about being honest, I gotta admit, all twelve fears have gripped my heart at one time or another. Fear of abandonment rises to the top. The thought of people who know me, love me, trust me suddenly withdrawing from my life ties my stomach in a knot.
In most cases do such fears come to fruition?
Well…no. I’ve messed up big time, then confessed it to family and friends, audiences and readers, and they’ve remained supportive, year after year. One research study on the effects of worry discovered that 85% of what we worry about turns out better than we expected.
What wisdom does this verse offer: “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe” (Proverbs 29:25).
Wow. That’s truth with a big T. When we put our trust in the Lord and His Word, rather than in people and their opinions, we’ll be “secure” (NRSV) and “raised high above danger” (CJB). What a comfort!
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for lifting us above our fears and helping us speak Your truth.
Now, it’s your turn
Of the dozen fears listed above that keep us from saying, “I made a mistake,” which one(s) have you wrestled with? And how has the Lord helped you? Thanks for taking a moment to respond. Your honesty will encourage us all.
Your grateful sister, Liz
P.S. Hop over to Vimeo for my free video teaching on Chapter Five. Here’s this week’s free wallpaper for your smart phone or tablet (I’m having so much fun using these!). And Annie from Georgia let me know about an upcoming exhibit on the queen of Sheba at the Fernbank Museum. Fascinating!
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