POINTS TO PONDER

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Have you ever asked your spouse, your children, or a friend, “Are you being honest with me?” Or did someone who saw the look of doubt on your face tell you, “I’m being honest with you?” If so, then for sure “honesty” is an important factor in what we say to each other.

Here is one definition of honesty I found: Honesty is the highest level of quality in human character. It is a true commitment between behaviors and relationships with other people. Honesty is very important to live a prosperous life. An honest person is tension free. Tension-free people live longer. If we know that we have made our commitments and promises with people honestly then we are not worried about the results. If we’re in doubt then there is tension (worry, stress, and anxiety) and these are the key causes and symptoms of various types of diseases.

Trudy Adams is a published author of teenage novels and a youth worker. She writes regular blogs about a range of issues affecting young people, including self-esteem, stress, anger, and day-to-day issues that can be challenging for anyone! She shares five reasons why honesty is important.

Almost everyone has been hurt at some point because of a secret, a distorted truth, a lie, and/or the discovery of something that should have been talked about openly. Dishonesty hurts because it undermines the relationship, breaks trust, and is the opposite of intimacy. It means that instead of feeling secure in the fact that you know the other person and are known by them in turn, you now have doubts about them and no longer feel totally safe in the relationship. Being honest isn’t always easy, otherwise, we’d all do it all the time. Adams offers the following points:

1) Without honesty there is no foundation for a lasting or enjoyable relationship in any context, whether that be with a family member, friend, or romantic interest. Honesty is a voice for love that builds trust. Without it, even “I love you” becomes a lie in itself and there’s no real security in the relationship.

2) People cannot read your mind. Being honest doesn’t just mean telling the truth about factual information, but also about the way you’re feeling. If you were hurt by something someone did, they may not even realize it unless you are honest with them about how it affected you. If instead, you hide the way you feel, then you disempower the other person from doing something about the problem and refuse the relationship the opportunity to grow. They may also feel hurt if they understand you were upset with them but said nothing, or if they know you’re not being honest with them about the way you feel. All of this festers and damages the relationship, while on the other hand, being honest about your feelings can bring healing, solve a problem, renew hope, and foster good communication.

3) When people don’t know the truth, they will try and guess it. That is, not being honest about something causes people to try and figure out what you’re not saying, or what the truth actually is. This breeds gossip, which can then foster more lies and deception that other people may mistake as truth. It causes many more people to feel hurt and betrayed when the truth is finally revealed, all of which could be avoided if honesty was applied in the first instance.

4) People are usually more hurt by the concealment of the truth than by the truth itself. Some people lie because they’re afraid the truth will get them in trouble or cause another pain, but more often than not, while the truth may be painful, it is still usually less painful when delivered honestly than when it is wrapped in deception. Holding back on it or lying to cover it only causes people to feel betrayed as well as hurt, and to then question why you weren’t just honest with them in the first place.

5) Being honest improves the relationship and saves us from having to live a lie. Lies rarely come on their own: one will usually be needed to cover another until it spirals out of control. This becomes complicated for the one who started it and confusing for the one receiving it. More than that, living a lie is hard work. It means not being yourself or enjoying relationships, and that is not comfortable for anyone. On the other hand, while being honest about difficult situations may be uncomfortable at first, if it can be worked through, the relationship is strengthened, trust is built and love is deepened.

The best relationships are the ones with honesty. It may mean difficult talks and awkward confrontations, but being honest also means better relationships with others and with yourself.

So, what does the Bible say about honesty? One of the Ten Commandments tells us that we should be honest when talking about our neighbor.[1] Perhaps that’s why King Solomon was such a great believer in honesty. He once wrote: Among the things the Lord despises most is a dishonest tongue.[2] He goes on to say Honesty guides good people; dishonesty destroys deceitful people.[3] The reason for that is: God can’t stomach dishonest people, but He loves the company of those who are honest.[4] So, it’s better to be poor and honest than to be dishonest and a fool.[5]

The writers in the First Covenant are not the only ones. Those in the Final Covenant were also adamant about being honest. Jesus gives us this rule to follow: Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from the devil who is a liar.[6]

And Peter, one of Jesus’ most trusted disciples, who knew first-hand about not being honest, wrote: If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from saying wrong things and your lips from being dishonest.”[7]

The Apostle Paul was also a champion of being honest. He told the Colossians: Don’t be dishonest with one another, seeing that you have gotten rid of your old self with its practices.[8] And to the Philippians, he wrote: And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honest, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.[9]

It all means that we must be honest with honesty. It is impossible, to be honest when you don’t hold honesty in the highest esteem. Think of it this way: Every promise in the Bible would turn out to be a pack of lies if God was not being honest. That includes our redemption, salvation, being His chosen, His children, looking for the resurrection, and everlasting life. How would that make you feel? So, don’t make others feel the same way about you. – Dr. Robert R Seyda

[1] Exodus 20:16

[2] Proverbs 6:17

[3] Ibid. 11;3

[4] Ibid. 12:22

[5] Ibid. 19:1

[6] Matthew 5:37

[7] 1 Peter 3:10

[8] Colossians 3:9

[9] Philippians 4:8-9

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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