August 29 I Wednesday

Psalms 126-128

1 Corinthians 10:19-33

“When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, He said of him, ‘Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.’” 

—John 1:47


When Philip told Nathanael he had found the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, Nathanael’s response was rather rude. “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” (John 1:46). Nazareth was an obscure village off the beat and track of well-travelled roads where criminals, vagrants and outcasts were known to reside. But Jesus, who knew both Nazareth’s reputation and Nathanael’s heart, did not reprimand Nathanael for being prejudiced. He praised Nathanael for his honesty—a man, the King James Version says, “in whom is no guile.”

Sadly, honesty has lost much of its value in society today. We are often more concerned with political correctness, which involves carefully choosing our words so as not to offend others. This is appropriate to a certain degree, but when we start to get dishonest and pretend things are not the way they really are, political correctness becomes detrimental to our relationship with God and others.

For example, we do not like to talk about wrong choices these days. We prefer the term “poor choices,” because this absolves us of making moral judgments. As far as poor choices go, we lump eating dessert before dinner with stealing a car, cheating on our taxes or committing adultery. The first may be a poor choice, but the others are sins, and rather than face our sin and bring it in humble repentance before God, we tend to let ourselves off the hook by labeling it “a poor choice.”

There is a refreshing honesty in Scripture that always tells the truth. Paul writes, “For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature (Romans 7:18). It is politically correct to assume that people are basically good, yet the Bible is honest and says that no one, Christian or non-Christian, is good in and of themselves. Anything good that dwells within us, such as love, generosity or the desire to provide for our families, comes from God. But John gives hope to those honest about their sinfulness, writing, “If we confess our sins,” not our poor choices, “[God] is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Jesus praised Nathanael as an honest man because these are the kind of people He can do business with. Perhaps Nathanael was a little blunt, but people who are honest about other things will typically be honest about themselves. Though it can be painful to admit our sins, failures and struggles to God, there is no one safer we can be honest with. He will not shame or condemn us, but will welcome our vulnerabilities so He can begin doing business with us.

Prayer: Gracious God, forgive me for when I have failed to be truthful about sin in my life. Keep me open and honest, living every day in a spirit of repentance. Thank You, Father.

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