I have a plum tree in my backyard and it is currently full of fruit. The fruit is almost ripe enough to eat. Plums are a tricky fruit because they can be so sweet and full of flavor in one bite and bitter in the very next taste. Our plums turn from green to a golden yellow as they ripen. They are perfect in their yellow state, still firm but full of flavor. They are a deep red inside and the fruit just seems to fall away from the pit.
They are delicious enough that I continue to eat them, but tart enough that one almost ripe plum can deter me for a while, until I get up the courage to try again. They are never tart enough to give up on completely, but enough almost ripe ones and I may walk away for the season and try again next summer. I remember their sweetness more than their bite and so I will always return in time.
A mostly ripe piece of fruit is like being a mostly honest Christian. Now before we start thinking about the mostly honest Christians in our lives, we need to take a hard look at ourselves. Each of us has a little bite to us when it comes to telling the truth and it can slowly tear apart the relationships we value most in our lives.
In total transparency, I had a huge problem with grandiose lying as a teenager. I was selfish and wanted to do what I wanted to do without answering to my parents. They caught me in lies constantly. I would try to tell more lies to get myself out of trouble and would even get so convicted of what I was saying, it was as if I could believe it into being the truth. In the end, I got in loads of trouble (sorry mom and dad) and it never ended up well. I did a lot of damage to relationships and it took years of honest living to show I’d changed.
I am a reformed liar, yet I still am tempted to lie and slip up on occasion. I don’t lie in big ways, but lies are lies and they can hurt others. Just recently I was texting a friend and told her I was going to bed. Then after I finished our conversation I got on Facebook and posted something, commented on something else and started scrolling. She called me on it. Oops, I don’t know that I even meant to lie. I just simplified my life by saying I was going to bed…which I was eventually.
She laughed it off, but something didn’t sit well within me. It was like a sour spot on a piece of fruit. In isolation, it would be overlooked, but what if more sour spots started to turn up in that friendship? Those little “mistruths” can turn into bigger spots and simple solutions to make life easier, may slowly turn a person away for a season.
Here is another example, a couple of weeks ago I got a text asking me to go walking the next day. I already had plans to walk with someone else and I was stumped. How should I respond? I could tell her I was already walking with someone else (which might hurt her feelings), or I could tell her I was going to sleep in (just a little fib), but spare her feelings in the process. I opted for the truth. I told her I had already made plans to walk with someone else. She was understanding and we set a future walking date.
These are just a couple of numerous examples, decisions each of us have to make in our daily lives to tell the truth in the small things. We have to decide to walk in honesty, even at the risk of friendship, discomfort, or complex conversations. The Lord says that in order for Him to trust us with bigger things in life, He has to trust us in the small things. If we are going to grow to be more Christlike, these bitter spots in the fruit we are producing are the small mistruths in life that we have to allow him to ripen to maturity.
Often times we don’t even recognize these little indiscretions. We justify them as saving another’s feelings, or maybe a good ending justifies the means. If we approach the Lord and ask Him to reveal the unripened spots, the little lies we tell, He will show us. All we need to do is sit quietly and wait for a response. If we don’t ask we won’t know, and if we don’t know we won’t grow.
“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.”