How Honest Are You?
“Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts” (Psalm 51:6)
Honesty is the virtue of truthfulness in relating to all the issues of life. Honesty is really a heart matter. It is a fundamental tenet of the gospel of Jesus Christ. God knows the thoughts and intents of the heart. He regards truth as a most important principle because He is a God of truth (Deuteronomy 32:4). He will surely bless the complete honesty of our heart.
Do you tell the truth when you might be found out, but are less than honest when no one will know?
Do you knowingly leave someone with a false impression?
Do you make purchases on credit when you know you don’t have the ability to pay?
Do you tell God how it really is, when you pray?
Do you honestly do everything that you know God wants you to do?
Are you honest in regarding the teachings of the Bible?
Are you the person that you pretend to be?
There is an impressive story in the New Testament of a man, Ananias, and his wife Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11). They sold their property, as many others had done, and made a pretense of giving the whole sum to the church, when they privately agreed to keep back some of it. Ananias and Sapphira brought the money to the church leaders, saying they had sold it for the amount they were giving. Their dishonesty was immediately judged by God and punished with death. In this account of the early church, hypocrisy (or dishonesty) was severely punished. God looks seriously at such falsehood. We may, like Ananias and Sapphira, give a false impression even though the words that are spoken are not a lie. We tend to forget our accountability before God. God knows our hearts and expects complete honesty.
A hypocrite pretends to be someone he is not. He may claim to be truthful, but is not careful when it is to his advantage to stretch the truth. He may talk of the needs of the unfortunate, but is not generous to give time and money when disaster strikes. Someone may pretend to be genuinely concerned about his neighbors, and yet find it easy to gossip about them. One may pose as an honest person, but still be ready to take someone else’s money as long as he is not caught. He may even try to convince himself that he lives according to higher standards of conduct than most others while being deceitful. In any of these conditions one would be a hypocrite, and dishonest.
The hypocrisy of man has always grieved God. Jesus said, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me” (Matthew 15:8). Bringing the heart and lips together is the challenge for man. Honesty from the core of our being is the key to finding grace and favor with the Lord.
A true Christian is an example of honesty. He prospers spiritually in direct relation to his honesty before God. The importance of honesty in relation to our fellowman also deserves careful attention. Both in word and in business dealings we must preserve confidence in one another. In order to do this, we need to be clearly willing to make any sacrifice for the sake of truth.
There is a lesson we can learn from the following experience. A teacher asked a certain boy, “Would you tell a lie for three cents?”
“No ma’am,” replied the youngster.
“Would you tell a lie for ten cents?”
“No ma’am,” said the boy.
“Would you tell a lie for a dollar?”
“No ma’am,” was the reply.
“Would you lie for a thousand dollars?”
“My,” he said to himself, “what couldn’t I do with a thousand dollars?”
While he hesitated, a certain young fellow behind him said. “No ma’am.”
“Why not?” the teacher asked.
“Because a lie sticks. When the thousand dollars is gone, and all the good things it has bought are gone, the lie is still there just the same.”
Truth is important enough that we should be willing to inconvenience ourselves for it. To save ourselves from embarrassment for the moment is a high price to pay for the loss of our integrity. Money gained by dishonesty is a poor payment for the defiled conscience and the eternal judgment God places on such sin.
Do you say you are walking in the light of God while at the same time doing evil works such as:
*Not forgiving your brother or sister?
*Not making amends when you have wronged someone?
*Exaggerating the truth?
*Breaking a promise?
*Robbing God of tithes and offerings?
Honesty is a test of character. God knows our hearts, and there is nothing hidden from Him. However, we sometimes do not relate to God as He knows us and as we really feel inside. We may not portray our honest or true self to the public. The truly happy person is one who is honest with God, and admits who he really is. As we open our hearts and lives to God, all these issues can be resolved.
Our motives and attitudes need to be submitted to the honesty test. To pass this test in our dealings with God and man, we need an inward change because outward things portray the inner man. Are you honest? God requires it, the world expects it, and we benefit from it. It is the only life that pays.
“In all things willing to live honestly”
“Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men”
(Romans 12:17). Read also Leviticus 19:35-36 and Proverbs 19:5.