• By Joseph A. Bias

Honesty


“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” Numbers 23:19

Thankfully, for most who will be reading this dishonesty is not a major character flaw. Most of us are respectful of the rights and property of others. We deal openly and uprightly in our work and relationships. We speak honestly to others and are not given to willfully speaking to others in order to deceive or misdirect or misguide them so as to preserve our pride or some notion of our own righteousness whether the words we speak are true or not.

But honesty is still not absolutely acceptable in our “polite” society. Few would feel comfortable telling someone the truth when we think it will offend them or “hurt their feelings, particularly when they solicit our opinion or perspective on a matter. We will go out of our way in true Southern hospitality to hold to the principle of “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” And when you must say something, it’s better to “lie” than tell the truth if the truth is not nice.

My mom made a cake for her ladies group that met at our house once a month. On this occasion she forgot to put baking powder and one other main ingredient in the cake so it turned out like a brick. Though she hid it away in the kitchen for my brother and me to have later, one of the ladies found it and began serving it to the others to my Mom’s great dismay. She tried to warn them that it was not good and that ingredients were left out, they would not be dissuaded. Realizing too late that is was indeed like a rock, one of them said, “Oh, Louise, we all love firm cake!” I’m not sure they indeed all loved firm cake but for that moment it was the best way to show appreciation for mom’s hospitality and the fact that everything else she had prepared was as usual, outstanding.

There are, however, other more weighty matters that can make the difference between life and death. What we say in expressing the honest truth can save someone’s life. In such times we need to risk being un-liked or rejected. Here are a few.

“Give me the keys, you are in no condition to drive.” “You need to exercise more, eat better and rest more.” ” I need to tell you, your cruelty to your spouse, your children and your workers is not acceptable, it’s destructive and you need to change it.”

Now these are not things you say to strangers or even casual acquaintances. Honesty at this dimension is generally for those in close, proven, trusting relationships, where each person is vulnerable and accountable to the other. True honesty is also more than skin deep. It’s not about what we appear to be on the surface but who we are in our hearts.

Jesus gave a strong warning to the disciples that they should not follow the pattern of the Pharisees whose lives were marked with hypocrisy. Speaking directly to the Pharisees he said,

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. The same is true of you: outwardly you seem to the human eye to be good and honest men, but, within, you are full of insincerity and disregard of God’s Law.” Matthew 23:28

God’s law of love is immutable. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Can you imagine God telling a little white lie to save face or to avoid offending someone? No. Why?, because God is not a man that He should lie.

“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” Numbers 23:19

He is light only and there is no darkness in Him. What this means for us as children of God called to imitate Him in all things is that we should also be full of light without deceit, deception, or false witness of any kind.

Our honesty is a function of our integrity. How we steward small things will mirror how we steward great things. How we steward our words, very small things, will determine how we steward our lives and bring enrichment into the lives of others.

“The man who is honest in a very small matter is honest in a great one also; and he who is dishonest in a very small matter is dishonest in a great one also.” Luke 16:10

“But he who does what is honest and right comes to the light, in order that his actions may be plainly shown to have been done in God.” John 3:21

Honesty is not the natural state of fallen humanity. It must be taught and nurtured in the heart from an early age or rigorously pursued in adulthood against the temptations of lust, greed, self-seeking, self-preservation and pride.

There is great humility in honesty and we would all do well to pursue it daily. God desires us to be honest in all things. we are never excused with the plea that "everybody does it." For us there is only one way, God's way.

“Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.” Romans 12:17

#Honesty #Just #Truth #Integrity

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