…the word of a person was only as good as he is. One’s word was one’s life.
This is an enormous truth. That is why Jesus did not fear His accussers. He was committed by His Word. He, above all, lived a life where the word and life were identical. Of no other life can this be said. Either there was a breakdown within one’s word, or there was a breakdown between the life and the word. Jesus, by honoring His Word, offered them and us His life. He did not die merely for justice. He died in prophetic fulfillment, demonstrating that you cannot kill the truth. Thereofre, in a real sense, they could not destory Him either.
I once saw a poster on the wall in the office of a school principal. It simply said, “If you cannot understand me in my speech, how can you understand me in my silence?”
The world will try to interpret truth by its wits. The Christian interprets truth by His Word – and by His silence.
Being consistent in our homes is important for another reason. Many of the Savior’s harshest rebukes were directed to hypocrites. Jesus warned His disciples concerning the scribes and Pharisees: “Do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not” (Matthew 23:3). This strong admonition is sobering given the counsel to “express love—and show it,” to “bear testimony—and live it,” and to “be consistent.”
The hypocrisy in our lives is most readily discerned and causes the greatest destruction within our own homes. And children often are the most alert and sensitive when it comes to recognizing hypocrisy.
A public statement of love when the private actions of love are absent at home is hypocrisy—and weakens the foundation of a great work. Publicly declaring testimony when faithfulness and obedience are missing within our own homes is hypocrisy—and undermines the foundation of a great work. The commandment “Thou shalt not bear false witness” (Exodus 20:16) applies most pointedly to the hypocrite in each of us. We need to be and become more consistent. “But be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).
As we seek the Lord’s help and in His strength, we can gradually reduce the disparity between what we say and what we do, between expressing love and consistently showing it, and between bearing testimony and steadfastly living it. We can become more diligent and concerned at home as we are more faithful in learning, living, and loving the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
Success in righteousness, the power to avoid deception and resist temptation, guidance in our daily lives, healing of the soul—these are but a few of the promises the Lord has given to those who will come to His word. Does the Lord promise and not fulfill? Surely if He tells us that these things will come to us if we lay hold upon His word, then the blessings can be ours. And if we do not, then the blessings may be lost. However diligent we may be in other areas, certain blessings are to be found only in the scriptures, only in coming to the word of the Lord and holding fast to it as we make our way through the mists of darkness to the tree of life.
With free agency there comes responsibility. If a man is to be rewarded for righteousness and punished for evil, then common justice demands that he be given the power of independent action. A knowledge of good and evil is essential to a man's progress on earth.
If he were coerced to do right at all times, or were helplessly enticed to commit sin, he would, he would merit neither a blessing for the first nor a punishment for the second.
Man's responsibility is correspondingly operative with his free agency. Actions in harmony with divine laws and the laws of nature will bring happiness, and those in opposition to divine truth, misery. Man is responsible not only for every deed, but also for every idle word and thought.
My will to his, like son to sire,
Be made to bend, and I, as son,
Learn conduct from the Holy One.
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