Honesty pays - Hope 103.2

Honesty pays

Morning Devotions is for those curious about the Christian faith and who want to explore Christian issues that relate to their daily life.

By Chris WittsSunday 2 Nov 2014Morning Devotions with Chris WittsLifeReading Time: 0 minutes


You may have heard the popular song by Billy Joel with his song “Honesty”. Part of the song says “Honesty is such a lonely word. Everyone is so untrue. Honesty is hardly ever heard and mostly what I need from you.” It made me think for a moment today about this topic of “honesty”. Are people still honest today? Is honesty still a virtue that is held up as a good model? Is Billy Joel’s song correct when he said “everyone is so untrue?”. There was a case recently which hit the newspapers of a 15 year old teenager who defrauded stock investors of more than $200,000 through manipulation of information over the internet. The boy was certainly dishonest. Afterwards,his father praised the boy as being clever and “beating the government”. The father apparently agreed that what his son did was not dishonest. Abraham Lincoln was reported to be a totally honest person. One day he walked several miles back to a store when he noticed he’s been given one penny too much in change,so keen was he to be honest in everything he did.

So,what does it mean to be honest?  I guess it means you don’t lie,steal or deceive. It means you tell the truth all the time and show integrity. If you have a reputation for being honest,others will respect you because they trust you,and trust is an important value in life,isn’t it. Honesty is characterised  by truth and sincerity,and implies fairness in dealing with others,and refusing to engage in fraud or deceit. Why is there so much surprise when someone hands in a wallet or purse with all the money intact? Because some people take what’s not theirs.

A minister was walking down the street one day when he came across a group of 12 boys aged between 10 and 12 years of age. They surrounded a dog. The man was worried thinking they were harming the animal. “What are you doing with that dog?” he asked. One said “This is an old neighbourhood stray – we all want him,but only one of us can take him home. So we’ve decided that whichever one of us can tell the biggest lie will get to keep the dog”. The Minister was upset with them and gave them a lecture about the sin of lying. “Don’t you boys know it’s a sin to tell a lie? When I was your age,I never told a lie”. There was dead silence for a minute,and the smallest boy shrugged his shoulders and said “Alright,give him the dog”.

On June 7,1996 the following headline appeared in THE NEW YORK TIMES,”What a tangled web we weave; we ALL practice to deceive.” The article beneath said that 91% of Americans confess that they regularly don’t tell the truth. And a full 20% admitted that they can’t get through the day without telling conscious,premeditated white lies. The report suggests that,”…as a society,we have moved very far away from the age when a man’s word was his bond….to a society in which people are more accepting than ever before of exaggerations,falsifications,fabrications,misstatements,misrepresentations,gloss-overs,quibbles,concoctions,equivocations,shuffles,prevarications,trims and truth coloured and varnished.”

The Bible has some good things to say about honesty. Proverbs 12:17-19 says “A good man is known by his truthfulness; a false man by deceit and lies. Some people like to make cutting remarks,but the words of the wise soothe and heal. Truth stands the test of time; lies are soon exposed” (LB).

Is honesty the best policy? Always. Should we always tell the truth even if someone else is hurt? It’s far better to tell the truth than be caught out lying.  Leviticus 19:11 says “You must not steal nor lie nor defraud”. St Augustine said “when regard for truth has broken down or  even  slightly weakened,all things remain doubtful”. But we need to confess that we all have told white lies at least sometime in our lives.

Four boys showed up quite late for school one morning. They told their teacher that the car they rode in had had a flat and thus they were delayed by several hours. She sympathized with them,but told them that they had missed a test and that they must make it up immediately. She sent
each boy to a different corner of the room and then told them that each must answer one question in writing: “Which tire was flat?”  Honesty for those boys is to tell the truth about where they were and what they were doing and why they were late,without thought of the punishment they are likely to receive for doing so.

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Honesty is first of all truthfulness,which is neither easy nor without consequences.

Honesty is a mechanic who fixes our automobile without running up charges for extra work that either was not needed or that could have waited for six months and without leaving undone work that in a few months will cost hundreds of dollars more to do.

Honesty is being fair.

Honesty is being open,sharing with other people.

The Apostle Paul wrote these words many years ago in Ephesians 4,but his words still ring true for today “We should speak the truth in love and grow up in every way into Him who is the head,into Christ” (v14-15).