It is a phrase that many of us were raised on: “Honesty is the Best Policy!” Unfortunately, if you read the news these days, you’ll realize that either the lesson was not repeated enough in some homes or ignored in the process of “growing up.”
How relevant is this phrase today? Is it still a good philosophy to hang your hat on?
It seems these days that honesty is a tough habit to form and a tougher one to maintain. We are constantly bombarded by half-truths, one-quarter truths and out-and-out lies.
Ads featured on billboards, television, radio and the Internet strive to misguide us. Friends and relatives and business associates misrepresent the truth. Sometimes we even find it hard to be honest with ourselves.
As Christians, it is our goal to emulate the life of Jesus Christ. In His entire life, no matter what the consequences He faced (even death), He was honest in his dealings with all men. He was even honest with Satan. Therefore, our lesson to learn from His life is to be honest in all ways and in all things.
We must also realize the power from which all dishonesty can be traced. It is Satan. He constantly whispers in our ear, “Go ahead, nobody will know!” If we are honest with ourselves, we will realize how false this statement is.
Two will always know the truth … us and our Heavenly Father. It is said that you can always tell the source of the still small voice within us; our Heavenly Father enlightens, Satan confuses. Use this as your guideline and you will never fall victim to Satan’s snares.
Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. —Romans 12:17, KJV
When you are honest in your dealings with all men and women you become known for your integrity. By being consistent in your honesty, you are a person whose word is his bond. This attracts the right kind of people as friends and business partners.
Another advantage to the honest life is the simplicity it gives. It was Mark Twain who said, “If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.” This from a man who was known to tell some pretty good whoppers in his time.
The most important part about being honest is in the consistency. One cannot be honest “part of the time,” turning it on and off as you would a light switch.
If you are caught in a lie, your integrity is lost forever. It is a stain that cannot be removed by any means. This brings us to another dilemma: What do you do if you catch a friend, relative or business associate in a lie or dishonest dealing?
The Christian thing to do is to forgive and forget. This is not always as easy as it sounds. It is probably best to treat each case individually and to pray for guidance.
Make sure that you make the offending party aware that you are praying for him and why, then rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to guide you in the right path. In some cases, it may require you to disassociate yourself from the offending party for the time being. Whatever your decision, be upfront and honest with them concerning the situation.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.—Philippians 4:8, KJV
As Christians, we need to realize that honesty is not only the best policy, it is the only policy.