Verse 23 – If the body of Christ is to mature, we must conform to Jesus, who is the truth. “That we henceforth be no more children…But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ…” (Ephesians 4:14-15). Giving an honest rebuke is part of speaking the truth in love. This is often difficult to do, since we risk the anger and rejection of the person rebuked. However, we will eventually be appreciated more than a flatterer. A true friend will appreciate our honesty, for it shows genuine concern. Lying flattery leads someone to continue in error. Many portions of Scripture admonish us not to lie to each other, such as Colossians 3:9-10.
A news organization recently did a survey here in America and asked several questions to determine the percentage of people who were dishonest about things. Some of the questions were: “Do you cheat the IRS? “Do you compliment people when you do not mean it? “Do you tell your spouse to tell callers you are not at home? “Do you tell ‘little white lies’ if it will keep you out of trouble? “Do you tell creditors that the check is in the mail when you have not yet mailed it? “Do you exaggerate when repeating things you have heard?” It was determined that 90% of Americans surveyed are not truthful under certain circumstances.
Lying began with Satan whom Jesus revealed as the father of lies (John 8:43-44; John 8:47). We can understand a high percentage of liars in corrupt society, but it is alarming that many Christians are also dishonest. God always keeps His word. He is faithful to every promise recorded in the Bible. That is why we can trust Him. We are called to be like Him, and must prove ourselves honest and trustworthy in order to represent our Father well. Jesus said that a man’s words proceed from his heart (Matthew 15:18-20). If we lie, fib or break our word to others (another form of dishonesty), we need to ask God to cleanse our hearts, and begin studying the Bible so that His Word of truth resides in us.
Verse 24 – Those who steal from their parents are likened to destroyers. Grown children can “steal” from their parents in a number of ways; such as living irresponsibly and relying on their parents to pay their bills. Some parents entrust their businesses or their affairs to their children, only to have the children squander them. Thinking one has the right to steal from their parents in this way and making no effort to repay them, is a terrible evil. To deny this sin makes it even worse. Lying and stealing are evils that we must ask the Lord to deliver us from, if we are to become overcomers.