By Brenda Black
The marble floors and granite colonnades, high domed ceilings and cavernous hallways showcased mind-boggling and beautiful architecture as I strolled through the square and round mazes of the Capitol building. They also provided great amplification. A simple clickety-clack of an aide's stiletto heels or the giggles of touring school children sounded like fireworks and chaos when their echoes collided and bounced from one hard surface to another.
Still, the din from daily traffic was no match to the roar from the House floor. Debaters who took their places near microphones competed with constant chatter from the gallery. Hushed conversations escalated in volume as representatives and constituents or fellow law-makers huddled together to attempt intelligible conversations.
In the midst of all the mayhem, somehow the work of law-making continues. And in the middle of that business are men and women who perform one of two ways – honorably or dishonorably. If the walls of Congress could talk, they'd tell the battles of integrity versus immorality, principled decisions in struggle with unethical behavior. It's the human condition and it gets magnified in a magnificent place.
With every scheduled meeting, I felt fairly confident discerning whether I was hearing truth or just getting lip service. Having only met most of these legislators for the first time, the impressions of others who knew them better proved far more valuable in determining their credibility. When their own constituents spoke highly about them, it proved the elected representatives had earned their respect. Some were even applauded for valiant efforts and their long-standing integrity.
Unfortunately a few law makers have a different type of notoriety – a reputation for insincerity. A lack of wisdom and inability to see beyond their own personal agendas has those bad players better known for lying tongues, two-faced performances and narrow-minded opinions.
Which would you trust? Which would you rather be? Whether constituent or Congressman, receptionist or Representative, lobbyist or legislator – honesty and integrity matter.
Scripture speaks clearly about the importance of honesty. “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.” (Proverbs 12:22) The Word of God also declares the benefits of honorable living. “Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” (Psalm 34:12-14)
Most of us would contend that it is troubling to be on the receiving end of a liar's litany. But what of the snare the liar lays for himself when he refuses to speak the truth. “An evil man is trapped by his sinful talk, but a righteous man escapes trouble.” (Prov. 12:13)
Throughout my day at the Capitol, I heard of the work of honorable men and women. I learned about their passion for justice or their willingness to go to battle for right causes. I listened to colleagues drop their egos and applaud the accomplishments of fellow legislators.
On the flip side, one man's name repeatedly received negative reaction from every rank and file. He had earned the reputation for saying one thing and doing another. He lied, he broke trusts, he refused to listen. In short, the man was despised and disrespected by many. His reputation for insincerity didn't just bounce of the walls, it was proclaimed from the rooftops of this noble building.
His lying lips had rendered only bitterness when truth may have provided sweet bliss. “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.” (Prov. 24:26)
I may not understand all the ins and outs of passing a bill through Congress, but I learned this much from my day at the Capitol, I'd rather walk blameless and seek the favor of the Lord and the respect from others than to walk in such a way as to leave a wake that causes others to despise and disrespect me. If it matters in law, how much more in life?
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. ” Galatians 6:7-9