Monday, February 18, 2013

Always Give a Good Example and an Honest Answer

By Gerald Cowan
    A long time ago a friend gave me some good advice on how to be an  effective minister. “Give everybody something to be thankful for,” he said. The best thing you can give to anyone is a good example and an honest answer to any questions asked of you (Rom. 12:17, 1 Peter 3:15-16). A good example will cause no one to stumble (1 Cor. 10:31). An honest answer means speaking the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). Give others something they will not have to apologize to others for, something they won’t have to hide or pretend didn’t happen. Give them the truth. When rumors fly, and they always will, they cannot fly through the truth. Truth stops the rumor dead.
    If one asks an honest question, he expects to get an honest answer, a simple straightforward statement of the truth, so far as it can be known. Some people are devious and untrustworthy. They may tell you things that are not strictly true, though not really false. They may do it to protect the guilty and mislead the innocent. Here’s an example that illustrates the point (something I clipped from the Coro Lake Bulletin, Memphis, TN several years ago):
    A young woman’s husband had been justly convicted of and crimes and sentenced to be executed. In those days capital punishment was often by hanging, and was witnessed by the public. The woman’s husband was hanged and she was left a widow with five children. For several years after the event it was quite natural for people to inquire about her husband, and here is how she explained his death. “My husband died at a public function when a platform on which he was standing gave way.” She had loved her husband, in spite of his crimes. To spare his name from further disgrace, she explained his death as simply as she could, without giving more details than were required to answer the question, but not saying anything that was not true.
    Love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8, James 5:20). It does not do so by refusing to acknowledge them, overlooking them, or pretending they do not exist. Some would rather not know the truth about others – infidelity of a spouse, for example, or inappropriate activities or business (gangster business in the case just mentioned). But sin cannot be hidden, removed, or forgiven unless it is faced, corrected, and forgiveness for it is sought from God.
    Give God, heaven, the church, people who know you, and your own self too, something to be thankful for.  Repent, obey the Lord, and let the Lord save your soul. Keep yourself in the faith – stay faithful to the calling of the Lord. Then no one will ever have to apologize for you or be embarrassed to have the truth about you known by all.
- Gerald Cowan preaches for the Dongola Church of Christ in Dongola, IL.  He may be contacted at

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