“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” -John 8:32
Dishonesty is a defense mechanism, at least it is in today’s culture. People lie all the time to get out of trouble, clear their name, or even make money; and that’s acceptable. If you have to lie to protect yourself, surely no one will hold it against you. I think this especially applies to the politicians and celebrities of today’s world.
Honesty, on the other hand, isn’t such a virtue today. Sometimes honesty is viewed as a vulnerability. When you are completely honest, you look weak. Your flaws and insecurities are exposed, and that’s not acceptable. Even when you have only good things to share with the world, honesty can sometimes be considered annoying. When you’re a Christian, people might not want your honesty at all.
Shouldn’t we do a double take about now? There is a truth that is meant to set us free, but this doesn’t seem like freedom at all. Lying is second nature to many, but maybe just telling the truth can move us towards freedom.
I think it’s about time we rethink the way we look at honesty.
Being Honest With Yourself
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” -Jeremiah 17:9
Wouldn’t it make sense that we have the ability to understand our hearts? I mean, it’s not like anybody else can tell us our own thoughts and feelings. For whatever emotion we are experiencing, there must be some reason for it. But have you ever wanted something that you know is bad for you? This is what Jeremiah 17:9 is talking about: our hearts deceive us. They make us think we need something in our lives that would hurt us to pursue; like money, fame, success, relationships, respect. Our heart makes us think that we are entitled to these things, and though these things are not evil in themselves, you could waste a lifetime of energy on pursuing your hearts desires.
Oh, but shouldn’t we follow our hearts?
Well, perhaps. But, that doesn’t mean you should follow your every whim. Our hearts are a major way that God communicates with us, so pray that He would live inside yours. In truth, it is the unguarded heart that will trip you up, so make sure you are always praying that God would live in your heart to protect you from it.
Being Honest With Others
“Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” -Colossians 3:9-10
If you are a Christian, that means you’re a Christ-follower, but it’s more than that. Christians are meant to be people who strive to be like Christ. And of course, we know that Jesus always told the truth. That is what the Bible is built on; telling us the truth. There are a lot of lies that people tell us in this world, but the Bible is the one thing we can rely on to always speak the truth into our lives.
We, as Christians, should be doing the same for others. Whether or not the people you encounter on a daily basis are Christians, you should always strive to be honest with them. Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb and make yourself vulnerable. Tell your story; God has done amazing things for you, and it would be lying to say that you haven’t been changed by Him.
Being Honest With God
“Then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive and act; deal with each man according to all he does, since you know his heart (for you alone know the hearts of all men)” -1 Kings 8:39
This seems kind of silly to say, but you can lie to God too. Of course God knows every part of you, so it seems like lying to him wouldn’t be an issue, but when you aren’t honest with God, it means that you aren’t putting all your trust in Him.
Sometimes I’ve lied to God when I’ve said I’m ok. I’ve found myself wanting to pray about something that’s bothering me, but then I don’t because I realize that there are some people who have it so much worse than I do. However, God cares about all of our little problems that we face in life. By refusing to pray about something that’s bothering me, I’m basically saying “Never mind God, I’ll handle this one!” That’s certainly not what He wants, and I probably can’t take care of myself as well as he can.
I just realized this today, but the root of the word “honesty” is honor. I’m sure this means more than just telling the truth. If God desires us to be honest, then having a truthful attitude brings God glory. It think this verse sums it up nicely.
“Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” -John 12:16
Honesty is more of a matter of the heart than about whether or not what you say is truthful. So, do a double take, reconfigure your code of honor, and don’t be afraid to tell the truth.