The Importance of Honesty
How important is it to be honest?
Honesty is really important. Our honesty reveals who we are. But sometimes being honest seems difficult. We might find ourselves in positions where we could either lie or tell the truth. There are times when it seems that lying would be better because we won't get in trouble; no one would ever find out. But the truth is, even if we don't get in trouble right then, we are going to feel bad about the lie.1 We know we've lied. There's also a really good chance that, at some point, the truth will come out.
One story in the Bible that can help us get through the temptation to lie is Jesus' parable of the Prodigal Son. The son takes all his father's money and spends it on unneeded things. Then he ends up with nothing. He's in a pretty bad way.
He decides to go back to his father and tell him truthfully what has happened, thinking that he can become a slave for his father, which would be better than starving. The father's reaction to the son's truthful story is awesome. Instead of taking him back as a slave, his father welcomes him back and proves his love for him.
One of the main points of the story to me is that the son doesn't make excuses or lie about what he has done. He could have lied, telling his father that he had lost the money some other way. But he doesn't. The son is honest with his father and gets good results. The story shows that being honest is always the right thing to do.2
Being honest helps us make good decisions, which helps us in the long run. There are many other examples from the Bible that show that it really is important to be honest. 3
A. H., age 14
1There are some people who appear not to have consciences and don't feel bad that they've lied. But the writer is not talking about the people who have absolutely no morals and who can do horrible things without thinking twice. He's talking about the normal person who does have a conscience, which is a very good thing.
2Sometimes when we tell the truth about doing immoral, wrong, or illegal things, we do have to accept the consequences of what we've done. If we've cheated on a test, we'll have to take the zero grade. Telling the truth doesn't mean being excused from the consequences related to the poor choices we've made. What it does mean is that we have the opportunity to make up for them, learn from our mistakes, figure out how to make better choices next time, and live a life that makes us proud to be us.
3The story of King Hezekiah is a neat one about honesty. He becomes sick and is about to die. He prays to God, reminding God, "I've lived an honest life before you. My heart's been true and steady. I've lived to please you; lived for your approval" (The Message, 2 Kings 20:3). So God adds 15 years to his life and helps him out in numerous ways.
Here's a passage from Psalms and a few proverbs that really show why honesty is the best policy:
- Look at those who are honest and good, for a wonderful future awaits those who love peace. (Ps 37:37 NLT)
- Ill-gotten gain gets you nowhere; an honest life is immortal. (The Message, Prov 10:2)
- Honesty lives confident and carefree, but Shifty is sure to be exposed.
(The Message, Prov 10:9)
- Honesty guides good people; dishonesty destroys treacherous people.
(Prov 11:3 NLT)
- Unscrupulous people fake it a lot; honest people are sure of their steps. (The Message, Prov 21:29)