The Code of a Knight – Part Four

SpitPolishnew2These are thoughts from my book Spit and Polish for Husbands:

A Knight’s Personal Character

Now let’s look at a knight’s personal character according to the Old Code.

  1. A knight keeps his word and performs what he has spoken. Whatever he commits to do, he will either do it or make arrangements to have it done, or he will die trying. Thus he is careful with his words, using wisdom and discretion with every utterance of his mouth.

A knight tells the truth in a world of lies, remains loyal in a land of betrayal, and works faithfully in a culture of excuses. Even his friends might think he is overzealous, and in this zeal he often stands alone. Yet his peculiar faithfulness makes him trustworthy, even in the eyes of pretenders. His loyalty is unquestioned, even among the unfaithful. If a lie of expediency whispers its desire to be told, a horde of lesser men will stampede to tell it. Not a knight of the Old Code. To speak a falsehood is to spew poison, and he will not allow a drop of venom to leave his tongue, even if offered the treasure of Solomon or threatened with his death.

Our culture celebrates the lie. It laughs at the deceptive antics of bumbling fools on television. It elects politicians who tell the most convincing fables. It winks at “white lies” that allow a man to skip an annoying meeting or avoid a tiresome caller by saying, “Oh, I can’t talk to him right now. Tell him I’m out to lunch.”

And with one shady statement, this man falls from being a knight to being a knave. He may think he’s running with the big dogs, but he’s really wallowing with the pigs.

Whether it’s an income-tax “miscalculation” or a “forgotten” appointment, the common man excuses himself time and time again. With each falsehood, his reputation slips into the shadows, where intentions lose their luster, excuses are peddled, and buyers are few.

Are we living in the shadows? What price do we place on our integrity? A few extra dollars in a tax refund? An escape from a pest? A way out of a jam? What could possibly be worth the stripping of our mantle of honor? And our shame is so much the worse if we make excuses, trying to explain why a code of honor doesn’t apply to us.

In contrast, a knight of the Old Code stands boldly in the sun. He carries no shame. He is unafraid of examination. The next time you look in the mirror, look yourself in the eye. Can you say without a twinge of conscience, “I am a man of honor”? If you can, great! Now, can you look your wife in the eye and say the same thing? Does she hold her hand over her mouth and start spewing laughter? Does she avoid your gaze and change the subject? Or does she embrace you and say, “I know. And I thank God for a man like you”?

Think about it. What kind of example does a liar set? If you allow yourself to tell lies, which lies will you allow your wife to tell you? How about your children? Will they give honest answers to a man who so casually splits his tongue?

Lying spreads like cancer and envelops an entire family. It spins a spider’s web, and it traps a liar in its sticky strands because each lie requires another to keep it from falling apart. A man may begin to believe his own lies, but it won’t take long for everyone else to forsake his word. Whether it takes a hundred lies or a dozen for someone to lose faith with other people, it takes only one lie to sear his conscience and make him more able to tell the next. With just one lie, he violates the Old Code, and, should his wife discover his falsehood, his armor is stained in her eyes. Only the miracle of grace and forgiveness will ever remove that mark.

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6 replies

  1. This reminds me of a conversation that I was having the other week with one of my coworkers, in which they were commenting on the Christians that were put to death for not denying their faith. They were like why don’t they just lie and pretend to convert and save their lives. I was trying to explain to them that as a Christian one should never be willing to deny their faith, and to do as he suggest would not only be sinning but also denying Christ himself, and we are called to never deny our faith even at the cost of our own lives. He says that he is a Christian but he would lie about it if it meant saving his life. I asked, him is cost of damnation worth the prize of another minute, hour, or even years of life? He tried to say I am sure God will make an exception, and I just pointed him directly to the scriptures where it says that those that deny Christ, Christ will deny them. Even at the end of the conversation it seemed to have no impact nor the that the entire integrity would be compromised, all for the chance for more life. I hope to have more talks in the future with him and hope that it will eventually help him.

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    • Good job. Keep shining the light.

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    • In case anyone else runs into a situation with someone having the same question, the following versus would help to address it, which I also passed along to that coworker:

      Matthew 10:32-33:
      ” 32So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”

      Mark 8:31-38:
      ” 34And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.””

      Luke 9:23-27:

      “23And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.””

      Luke 12: 8-12:

      ” 8“And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, 9but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. 10And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. 11And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, 12for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.””

      2 Timothy 2: 11-13:

      ” 11The saying is trustworthy, for:

      If we have died with him, we will also live with him; 12if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; 13if we are faithless, he remains faithful—

      for he cannot deny himself.”

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  2. I think one thing people forget in situations like that is that when people deny Christ, even in a deadly situation, they are compromising other people’s salvation. If someone is willing to die for their faith, for instance, then it shows people that Christianity is something real and worthwhile, and the Christians are brave while those who kill them are murderers. I’ve thought a little about the deception thing, and about what point Christians should stop resisting if pursued by those that want to kill them. I’ve had to make myself keep in mind the scriptures, history and how none of us should cowardly cling to our own lives when it just shows that God isn’t actually the most important thing to us. And what about times when a Christian denies his faith, or pretends to, and the persecutors kill the former Christian anyway?

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  3. In America we’re blessed so much by our freedom that it is hard to think of how most Christians have to live their lives under the shadow of death. Yet I do think a lot of Christians have grown lax in faith. We don’t “need” God like those who could be facing a gun today, and that has seeped into how we live day to day. The hypocrisy in the church is a major deterrent to nonbelievers. If the church looks the same way as the world why should they bother to come? I know this isn’t every church and Christian, but I believe it’s America as a whole. May the testimonies of those who remained faithful to the end convict and grow us.

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    • In many ways we can be compare to as being like the Church of Laodicea as the American Church. If you look around at the Church today and the majority of the people in it, and you look into the history of the church of Laodicea it is very similar. It is undeniable that the United States is the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, which should make the Christian’s that are in the United States the most generous in the world, but it doesn’t. We get poisoned by a more subtle corruption of money. One thing interesting as well to note is that the City of Laodicea was so rich that when they were devastated by an earthquake, they actually turned down financial assistance from Rome. Imagine say a city such as New Orleans having turned down financial aide after Katrina.

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