These 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.
- 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.
Categories: Thoughts from the Heart