The Honest Truth: Crown Ministries Biblical Financial Studies Session 5

Honesty. Crown Ministries Biblical Financial Studies has you studying it for one week. In our particular session, we will be having it for more, because we didn’t finish everything the last Monday.

Mark had invited Crown Stewardship Ministries Phil. National Director Cora Chan to relate to us her experience with debt. But her schedule only allowed her to be able to come this week, so it was during our Honesty session that we got to hear her story. And it actually fit right in with honesty, too.

She started her story (remember, it was supposed to be on debt) on her failed business venture. She and her husband had entered a partnership with a friend, who, as she described, had different values than they did. Cora says of herself that she needs to make sure all bills are paid on time, because unpaid bills stress her out. Their partner didn’t share that same stress. After the business crashed, they had their business audited, and it came out that their partner had been using company money to finance her personal businesses. Records showed that whenever a certain amount had been collected, the partner would write out a check with the same amount.

When their accountant first told them of the deficit, she was not worried. “Fifty million?” she said. “I used to meet and exceed my P500-750 million monthly quota when I was VP for Marketing and Sales! This is just one-tenth!” But God had a different lesson for her to learn. Doors started closing on her. But she started depending on God more and more to lead her and show her how HE was going to rescue them from this pit.

Her husband, she said, had more faith: if God allowed us to be in this position, he will bring us out of it. Their business closed on a Friday. By Monday, he had found a job and was working.

In the meantime, Cora was struggling. The partner, you see, had been a good friend. And when the business folded in debt, the friend began to spread stories that were not true. Cora was so offended, she began to hate this friend with such a passion, she would have nightmares of hurting her. But because she is a Christian, she knew this was not right. After a vicious cycle of asking for forgiveness and falling back, God finally got through to her and showed her she had not yet forgiven the other person. Assured that God is on her side, she surrendered the anger and rage. And for the first time in two years, she finally had a good night’s rest.

The next day, with the lightness of peace on her whole being, she went to pick up her husband from work. “Let’s go to Glorietta,” she asked him. “We haven’t been there for quite some time.”

While going around the mall, they bumped into an old acquaintance who was very happy to see them.
“I’ve been looking for you for two years!” the man told them. This acquaintance was someone they had helped once, “with a measly P5,000,” said Cora. It turned out that that “measly” amount helped him send important documents to the US for a suit he was facing. It arrived on time, and he won the suit. He had listed down everyone who had aided him at the time, and of all of them, the Chans were the only ones he had not found. Two years later, they bump into each other in a mall.

He asked them how they were. After they finish their story, he brought out his check book and wrote out a check. For P10 MILLION. This money they used to start a business that is now helping them pay off the debt.

“He’s been looking for us for two years,” Cora said with a little moan. “If I had forgiven my friend right away instead of stressing myself about what she did for the past two years, maybe that money would have come sooner!”

(It was another instance, for me, of God’s provision: seeing ahead. Even before the problem started, a solution was ready. But God has reasons for taking two years before letting the Chans get his supply. I sincerely believe it was not because of Cora’s unforgiveness. One of the things we learn at Crown is that God knows when we will be ready for his supply. I’m actually thinking now, what if the money came just before the crash? It might then be accessible to the mismanaging partner…scarier scenario!)

She shared so many amazing stories about how God provides. She has amazing stories of faith and faithfulness, especially for their children’s education. During that time, she said that other people were telling them to file for bankruptcy, which they refused to do.

“We were never bankrupt,” she stated firmly. “The money was just mismanaged.”

Then, because she is National Director for Crown in the Philippines, she recaps with the debt lesson:

“We get into debt because of indulgence, ignorance, or circumstances. But when you are pushed to the wall, you find that only God can help you. Not your spouse, not your best friend, not your office, not money.” Their debt is down to P39M, and is slowly but surely getting repaid.

In our Honesty lesson, we learned that dishonesty, while maybe profiting the dishonest, adversely affects those around them. This was what I saw in Cora Chan’s story. Her partner’s mismanagement caused their business to collapse, and she is protecting her – herself (almost used another word there…J ) with dishonest stories that are hurting a friend. Mark voiced a question that was probably in everybody else’s mind:

“Is she criminally liable for this? Did you file a case?”

“Yes, we did,” Cora told us. “But we did it mainly to show our creditors that we intend to pay them, not to prosecute our friend.”

I believe that this dishonesty will eventually catch up with that friend. I hope that she receives the forgiveness Jesus has won for her, and realize how she has been hurting people who trusted her.

When Mark started the Honesty class, he said he had renamed it “Honesty and Integrity.” They do go together. Integrity refers to the strength of a structure. Dishonesty wears away one’s trustworthiness, and therefore one’s integrity. But while uncompromising honesty may cause you trouble in a workplace where dishonesty prevails, the integrity you show will reap you rewards that are beyond imagining.

Mark told us of the story of his brother-in-law. As an expert in his field, this man rose from the ranks until he became a vice president in the company. But when tax time came, he discovered that the accounts department under-declared incomes when filing the returns. Refusing to be part of the dishonesty, he did his own taxes. Of course, what came out was that he was earning more than the company president! Investigations ensued, and he was caught in between. As he prayed, he received a distinct answer: “Leave. Your job is done.” It surprised him but he obeyed, tendering his resignation and sending a mass email about his stand for truth and God. “He also included a short gospel presentation,” Mark told us. “And I think it was more powerful than any other gospel tract those people may have read!”

Crown lesson: Integrity establishes credibility so evangelism can be effective.

Mark went on: his brother-in-law had resigned without any back-up plans. All other big companies in his field of expertise refused to touch him, probably afraid he might expose them as well. But eventually, one man who was starting a similar company heard of his story, sought him out and hired him as president. At the present time, he is no longer with that company, but he is serving as president of the association of all the companies involved in that industry. Even the company he had first worked for as VP is now under him. That’s the kind of promotion that can come only from the Lord!

Honesty. I disagree with Billy Joel. Honesty is still around. If you think it’s hardly ever heard, that’s just because dishonesty has to cry out its story from the rooftops, thinking that the louder it shouts, the more believable it should be. But that is so not true. Honesty knows vindication comes from the Lord, the God of all Truth. And the end will show the truth.

I hang on to this, because I know what it’s like to be dealt with dishonestly, to be cheated and lied to, and even lied about. Stories like Cora Chan and Mark’s brother-in-law assure me that God, in whom I trust, is watching and guarding, knows what’s happening and knows what to do. In my panic, I can find rest. God is in control.

He said so, and I believe him, because he is more than an honest, truthful God.

He is Truth.

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