The Edifier

West Allen Church of Christ

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The Good and Honest Heart

Paul Smitherson

In most cases when the Bible speaks of the "heart" it is speaking of our mind or attitude. Everyone must be concerned about what kind of heart they have; for as the wise man warns, "Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life." (Proverbs 4:23) In other words, what flows forth from our life, what we say, the way we act, the example we set, all stems from the kind of heart we have.

Men's hearts can be put into one of two categories-- honest or dishonest. Whether our heart is honest or dishonest has an effect not only on all areas of our life, but on our eternal destiny. Any type of dishonesty is despised and detested by most people and is abhorred by God. Dishonesty will destroy an individual's character, and ultimately destroy the soul; for not only does dishonesty cause one to loose their integrity, it is sinful.

Telling a half-truth, or even telling things that are factual in a deceptive manner, is being dishonest. We must tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. In fact, one does not have to utter an untruth to be dishonest. To cheat or defraud is to also be guilty of dishonesty.

Behind all dishonesty is a corrupt heart. One dictionary's definition of dishonesty is, "a disposition to lie, cheat, or steal, or defraud." To be dishonest is to be a child of Satan rather than of God; for Jesus stated, the devil " a liar, and the father of lies" (John 8:44). The fate of liars is stated in Rev. 21:8, "...and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." Notice it says "all liars", this includes every kind of untruth-- big black lies, little white lies, all lies. The word "liars" in this passage comes from the term "psudees", which not only includes telling an untruth, but any kind of an attempt to deceive by a falsehood.

We live in an age when many people are dishonest. Oh, many would never tell what most consider a "big black lie," but they are dishonest nonetheless . Many are dishonest in the work place, deceiving customers to make a sale. Some fail to give a day's work for a day's pay. Some take items from work that have been purchased for the workers to use in the work place and not at home. Some cram and overload expense accounts. Some call into work and lie about their health to take a day off. Many are dishonest when it comes to their income taxes, listing all kinds of questionable deductibles on tax returns. Some people have others to lie for them when the phone rings-- "Tell them I'm not home." All of these things are forms of dishonesty, which comes from a wicked and corrupt heart that is sinful and abominable in the sight of God.

In Luke 8 Jesus told the parable of the sower. In Jesus' explanation of the parable, the kind of heart represented by the good soil that bore good fruit with perseverance was the "good and honest heart." It is the honest and good hearts that believe and obey the will of Christ. An individual with a dishonest heart many times deceives himself in believing that he has no need for the forgiveness of sin, no need for Christ and His gospel. Several times the Scriptures warn us to "be not deceived" concerning sin (1 Cor 6:9, 1 Cor 15:33, Gal 6:7). One must be willing to admit his sin before God,repent, and obey. Repentance is a change of will (of heart), to submit to the will of God. This requires putting away all lies, and deception. It requires being fair and truthful in all areas of life, especially as one examines himself by the word of God. The individual with a good and honest heart, having made that change of will and being cleansed by the blood of Christ in baptism, will go on to bear fruit for God (Rom.6:3-4). What kind of heart do you have?