There are so many expressions for someone who is not being forthright:
- Beating around the bush,
- Dancing around an issue,
- Pulling the wool over someone’s eyes,
- Blowing smoke,
- Shooting me a line,
- Giving me the business, and
- Others too graphic to mention.
All of us have a natural aversion to this practice. We want the straight news, the true facts, the real deal. Our shrubs do not need to beaten around. We don’t want to be bored by verbal dancing. Wool over the eyes makes us sweat. Smoke is not healthy to breathe and we don’t need any lines or phony business. We want people to get to the point already!
To be forthright in our dealings means exactly that– to be to the point, truthful, timely, and trustworthy.
The Poet has good news for us. When we are forthright with God and man, God will be forthright with us.
“With the faithful you show yourself faithful, O God; with the forthright you show yourself forthright.”
To be faithful and forthright is part of God’s nature. Even though we are created in His image, these things are not natural for most of us—we have to learn how to be like our Creator. We also need the help of the indwelling Holy Spirit to sanctify our minds and enable our wills to do what is right and in a timely—forthright—fashion.
We begin by imitating our parents, learning how to behave, including how to speak, from them. Children generally understand more than they can explain and they soon learn to tell when their parents dancing around an issue they do not want to discuss. When the child is caught doing something naughty, he/she quickly learns to talk in circles, cleverly avoiding the subject of guilt or innocence. They learned these life skills from their first teachers—Mom and Dad.
When an adult child of God who has been thoroughly trained in dancing around issues, begins to learn to pray—to talk with God—he or she usually tries to pull the wool over the all-seeing eye of God. We actually beat around the prayer bush, as if we could blow smoke so dense that God could not see through it.
One of the first lessons of prayer we must learn is to be forthright in our conversations with the Lord. One cannot pray a lie! This is one of the great things about prayer—it is a process of peeling the onion of our souls—removing layer after layer of self-deceit, of lies we tell ourselves, when we realize we cannot lie to God. None of us has enough wool to pull over God’s eyes.
When we get down to the honest truth, we really start praying—and the Lord’s starts listening. He can then speak to us and when God speaks, He gets right to the point!
“With the forthright, He shows Himself forthright.”
I love you, O Lord my strength, O Lord my stronghold, my crag, and my haven. My God, my rock in whom I put my trust, my shield, the horn of my salvation, and my refuge; you are worthy of praise. I will call upon the Lord, and so shall I be saved from my enemies. The breakers of death rolled over me, and the torrents of oblivion made me afraid. … He reached down from on high and grasped me; he drew me out of great waters. He delivered me from my strong enemies and from those who hated me; for they were too mighty for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster; but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into an open place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. The Lord rewarded me because of my righteous dealing; because my hands were clean he rewarded me; For I have kept the ways of the Lord and have not offended against my God; For all his judgments are before my eyes, and his decrees I have not put away from me; For I have been blameless with him and have kept myself from iniquity; Therefore the Lord rewarded me according to my righteous dealing, because of the cleanness of my hands in his sight. With the faithful you show yourself faithful, O God; with the forthright you show yourself forthright. With the pure you show yourself pure, but with the crooked you are wily. You will save a lowly people, but you will humble the haughty eyes.
Matthew 5:33-37; 6:5-8 NIV
“Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Song of Prayer
I Must Tell Jesus
Words and Music: Elisha A. Hoffman
I must tell Jesus all of my trials,
I cannot bear these burdens alone;
In my distress He kindly will help me,
He ever loves and cares for His own.
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
I cannot bear my burdens alone;
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.
I must tell Jesus all of my troubles
He is a kind, compassionate Friend;
If I but ask Him He will deliver,
Make of my troubles quickly an end.
Tempted and tried I need a great Savior,
One who can help my burdens to bear;
I must tell Jesus, I must tell Jesus:
He all my cares and sorrows will share.
What must I do when worldliness calls me?
What must I do when tempted to sin?
I must tell Jesus, and He will help me
Over the world the vict’ry to win.
© 2023 by Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved