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Honesty is Best
Photo: Michael Illuchine
Kailee came bouncing up to Janna after class and glibly asked, “What do you think of my new outfit?” It was the worst combination Janna had ever seen Kailee wear. The colors weren’t right, the shirt was too big for her and the shoes were downright scary. Janna really didn’t know what to say, so she just mumbled something about liking the dress Kailee wore last week better.

Have you found yourself in a similar situation where you didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings but you didn’t want to lie either? Lying lips are listed as one of the seven most abominable sins in Proverbs 6:16. Perhaps one of the reasons deceit is so abhorrent is because it destroys trust and ruins relationships.

Think about the story of Jacob in the Bible: his name means deceiver. He took advantage of his brother and tricked his blind, elderly father to obtain what he wanted. The result was loneliness, guilt and eventually being tricked and taken advantage of himself.

Jacob’s son, Joseph, evidently learned the value of honesty at a young age, perhaps through Jacob’s influence. When, as a slave in a foreign land, Joseph was approached by Potipher’s wife he remained firm in his resolve to honor the principles of honesty and integrity. No doubt it was very tempting for Joseph to “take the easy way out” and avoid the wrath of his mistress (and being sent to prison). Since Potipher was often absent he likely would not have discovered their affair. But if Joseph had yielded he would not have become the prime minister of Egypt. God’s beautiful plan would have been spoiled.

Remaining Silent

A person can be dishonest by remaining silent. Pretending you don’t know something when you do is deceitful. Telling only part of the truth, to make yourself look better, is dishonest. And even if no one else discovers your dishonesty, you will remember it for the rest of your life.

Honesty, on the other hand, builds trust and frees relationships for growth. “Say what you mean and mean what you say” is good advice. Tell the truth (tactfully, of course) and people will respect you for it. If they know you are truthful in small things they will believe what you say about important matters.

“The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” doesn’t mean you have to tell every single thing you know about every subject. For example, when a small child asks where babies come from, she doesn’t need to hear all the details of adult relationships. Honesty simply means you never have the intent to deceive.

In Proverbs 14:3 Solomon assures us that "...the lips of the wise shall preserve them." The best rewards of honesty are a clear conscience, a good name and happy relationships. Don’t you think it’s worth it?

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By Brenda Dickerson. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.

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