Now I pray to God that you do no evil, not that we should appear approved, but that you should do what is honorable…
— 2 Corinthians 13:7 NKJV
It is a sad reality that some Christians have earned bad reputations for being dishonest. As a result of their dishonest, dishonorable words and actions, others were negatively affected.
The truth is, we have a God-given responsibility to hold up the name of Jesus in all our words and our deeds. Our lives should demonstrate that we are honest and that we do those things that are honorable to Jesus’ name. This is why Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “I pray to God that you do no evil, not that we should appear approved, but that you should do what is honorable…” (2 Corinthians 13:7 NKJV).
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Over the years in our ministry, Denise and I have had our “fair share” of dealing with dishonest Christians as we’ve pressed forward to take new territory for the Kingdom of God. It is amazing how such individuals can smile with so much enthusiasm and glee while knowing in their hearts that they’re scheming to do something dishonest. Thankfully, this group of people constitutes a minority of believers — yet this small minority can leave a bad taste in one’s mouth and have a widespread negative effect, especially if the person they’ve wounded tells others about the ordeal.
In moments when we experience the unpleasantness of someone’s dishonorable behavior, it would be wise for us to remember that even Jesus had an insincere person — Judas Iscariot — on His team. So it should not surprise us if we occasionally experience a disappointing personal encounter with a fellow Christian. From time to time, it simply happens — and when it does, we must forgive and move on without spreading the bad news to others whom it will disappoint and hurt. Only those who are in authority need to be informed when such an event occurs.
If this happens to you, I advise you not to slip into a mode of judging those who let you down. They may simply be believers whose minds are not yet renewed to truth and right behavior. Down the road in their Christian walk, after God works in their hearts and minds, they may repent and come back to ask your forgiveness. So when you have a disappointing experience with a fellow Christian, it’s vital that you keep your own heart free of judgment and bitterness. Instead of letting that bad experience get the best of you, focus on your own actions and make sure that you are not among those who portray a bad image of believers in Jesus Christ!
As Paul closed his second letter to the Corinthians, he told them, “Now I pray to God that you do no evil…but that you should do that which is honorable” (2 Corinthians 13:7 NKJV). In light of today’s conversation so far, let’s look a little deeper at this verse.
The words “now I” are a translation of the Greek word echometha, which would be better translated, “Now we….” It tells us that this was not the prayer request of Paul singularly — rather, his entire apostolic team was praying for honorable behavior among the readers of the apostle’s letter. As a city, Corinth had a bad reputation for being swindlers and cheaters. Paul’s entire company was concerned about the behavior of the Corinthian believers. And they prayed against it, believing that the Christians in Corinth would conduct their lives in a way that reflected integrity, honesty, and honor.
Paul wrote specifically that they prayed the Corinthians would “do no evil.” The word “evil” is from the word kakos — a word that describes something that brings harm and thus produces bitterness in the recipient or recipients of the evil actions or conduct. Kakos denotes something that is unfair, unjust, or destructive — thus, as noted, the result of this kind of behavior leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of the one to whom the “evil” was done.
In Greek, when Paul wrote the words “do no evil,” he used a strong form of the word “no”— meaning he was giving a very strong prohibition against those “evil” kinds of actions and activities. This tells us that Paul was not making a mere suggestion; he was giving a command to his readers to come up higher in their motives and actions.
For the believer, Paul simply left no room and no excuse for a lack of integrity. Likewise, the Holy Spirit is speaking to us today through this verse, telling us that we must also do nothing that is deliberately or knowingly wrong — or that would cause embitterment in another person. Instead, Paul commanded us, “that you should do what is honorable” (2 Corinthians 13:7 NKJV).
The word “do” is a form of the Greek word poieo, which carries the idea of creativity. In other words, if finding a way to do something right, good, fair, and honorable doesn’t come to you easily, ask the Holy Spirit to help you get creative about ways to do what is helpful and beneficial to others.
The King James Version translates the word “honorable” as “honest.” The word “honest” is from the Greek word kalos, and it describes something that is done with good in mind or in a noble or honorable way. It denotes something that is unblemished and pure. We might say that kalos carries the idea of actions that are ethical, principled, morally correct, upright, or full of integrity. Kalos denotes the highest and finest kind of aspiration — the desire to do something in the most correct and honest manner.
In summation, the Holy Spirit — speaking through the apostle Paul — pleads with us to do that which is honest, honorable, and good. He strongly urges us never to deliberately do anything that would cause hurt to others. In fact, He warns us that there is no place for this type of behavior in the life of a committed Christian. We must constantly remember that what we do reflects on the good name of Jesus. If we’re tempted to do something that lacks integrity, we need to pull back, repent, and ask the Holy Spirit to help us speak the truth and to do what is just, fair, helpful, and beneficial to those who could be affected by our actions.
I urge you to read the questions that follow and sincerely ask if there is any area of your life that needs to be changed concerning showing honor to Jesus’ name. The Holy Spirit is right there inside you to open your eyes to anything that needs to be corrected. He simply needs a heart that is willing to see the truth and to respond to what He shows you and tells you to do. Open your heart and let the Holy Spirit help you. Refuse to do anything that is morally or ethically questionable. Allow Him to help you set your heart on behaving uprightly in your words and deeds.
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Holy Spirit, after reading today’s Sparkling Gem, I am more determined than ever before to yield to You — the Spirit of Truth — in every area of my life. I commit to be honest and forthcoming in all my dealings with people in my life. If I’ve ever caused harm to a fellow Christian or hurt the reputation of Jesus’ name, I ask You for forgiveness. As I look back on my life, I can’t think of a time when I’ve done this intentionally. But perhaps I have a poor memory. So just in case I’ve been guilty in some way of dishonoring the name of Jesus or grieving the Person of the Holy Spirit by my poor actions and behavior, I repent and ask You to forgive me so the slate will be clear in my life!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I declare that I will not be involved in any type of sinful shenanigans that would hurt the testimony of Jesus’ name or that would cause people to retreat from fellowshipping with His Church. I will walk worthily of the calling that has been given to me. I will walk in integrity and be forthright, even if it costs me personally to be honest and truthful. I declare that I will not deliberately do evil to anyone, but I make it my aim to represent the Lord Jesus Christ in a noble and honorable manner in all things!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Can you think of a time when some fellow believer did some questionable things that hurt his or her Christian testimony? When was that? In the end, what happened? Were people hurt by this person’s lack of Christian integrity?
- Has there been a time in your own life when you acted manipulatively to get what you wanted? Were you truthful, or did you twist the facts and the story in order to gain some kind of advantage? Did the Holy Spirit convict you that this was wrong? Did you ever go back to those individuals with whom you were dishonest and ask them for forgiveness?
- Can you recall someone who was spiritually damaged because of something a Christian did that was full of dishonesty and ulterior motives? Did that person who was hurt write everyone else off because of that one experience? Have you ever done anything to attempt to restore that believer back into fellowship with a church?