As we reach step 10 of the Life Recovery program, it is of little consequence that there are many recovery programmes as one is fundamental to every one. Honesty is always included and rightly so. It is the basic principle of any relationship and particularly so if we are to re-establish ourselves and get back on the road to recovery.
How much more foundational is the picture of a man who was considered to be a pinnacle in affairs of the state and recognised one of the 5 key figures in the creation of the Declaration of Independence. By that time, Benjamin Franklin in 1776, was in his 60’s and identified as an honourable and trusted man. he was amazingly creative in lots of ways - as a scientist, a poet, author, politician and very well travelled. He is credited with the phrase ‘Honesty is the best policy.’ The interesting point here is although he did write it, if we are honest he took the phrase from someone else!
He visited England and Europe many times, where he would have read the writings of Sir Edwin Sandys from 1599. Now, I doubt whether Franklin would have taken the credit but it makes a good story. So, on the subject of honesty, Sir Edwin was not the originator of the phrase either… we don’t go back 250 years to identify the origin of an honest policy, not even 400 years - Jesus is quoted many times and that takes us to 2000 years.
Even then, we have to go back to the writer of Proverbs in the Old Testament. We believe this to be King Solomon as early as 950 B.C. That is why the principles of recovery in this programme are rooted in the very earliest days of mankind. Therefore, no-one man can take any credit. This is, especially, true in King Solomon’s case as God asked him to name anything which he wanted. Solomon replied - in 1 Kings 3 v 9 - for wisdom, understanding to judge men between good and evil.
Honesty was referred to in those days as integrity. I have heard it said that the word is the most searched word on the internet. Whether that is true or not is up for debate but another comment was that if you have to look up the definition, you don’t have it…
There are countless references to honesty. I don’t apologize for listing a few here -
There are six things the Lord hates— no, seven things he detests:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent,
a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong,
a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family.(Proverbs 6 v 16-19)
People with integrity walk safely,
but those who follow crooked paths will be exposed.
(Proverbs 10 v 9)
New Testament …
We are careful to be honorable before the Lord, but we also want everyone else to see that we are honorable.
(2 Corinthians 8 v 21)
The key principle of this step towards recovery is - We continued to take a personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it. The parable of the sower is an excellent example.
Anyone who has developed a garden will tell you that if you don’t remove the stones, the weeds, prepare the soil to remove insects and add fertiliser, your chances of success are limited. I am a very keen sports lover. At school, we moved to a brand new site. The buildings were great but we had an all weather playing area that was great until you fell down. The plan was to prepare a grassed area which was large enough for any sport.
As a young excited group of 12 year olds we were desperate to play on grass - soft and less painful. There was only one answer - every class (30+), every week for a year had to pick up stones and weeds for an hour! I make that 1000+ hours of preparation BEFORE a seed was sown.
The enjoyment that we had in the following years and, even, today is being enjoyed was great. That is the message of today. The Lord gives to everyone the opportunity to grow and develop their lives. Sadly, the enemy hates the thought of unity and prosperity, life and freedom so he distracts and tempts us away. If we are truly honest about our lives, then taking stock is the only way to re-align ourselves with the plan and the destiny that God has established for everyone. Recognising our failures and mistakes and following through with a powerful decision to change is the key. Jesus came - not to destroy our destiny but, - to restore the abundant life that God promised.
Honesty is the best policy - with ourselves, with those around us and with God.