Thomas Jefferson wrote: “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” The heart of truth is honesty. A person is as good as his or her promise. It is said that ‘my word is my bond’ was used before written documents were common. These words mean we will always do what we promise to do. How often do we hear ‘my word is my bond’ today? It would be a great step forward if they became commonplace in our society.
We desire to be honest, even though it is easier to be dishonest. Lying is so common in today’s society. Lies can build up and harden people in such a way that they lose the ability to think honestly and follow God’s truth. As honest Christians we respect the facts even if they are unpleasant, see others as they are instead of how we want them to be, discern if what we do helps or hinders others, and avoid over stating or understating a situation. We speak up when someone is being treated poorly or unfairly.
Honesty with ourselves is the biggest challenge of all. We keep the promises we make and follow through on our commitments. Truth fosters a more accurate assessment and deeper consideration for serious situations that come our way. If we live with this orientation, we consider those around us. What does this mean? We tell our loved ones where we are, where we will be going and what we will be doing. We have minimal concern if someone looks at the websites we visited, listens to our smart phone conversations, reads our email, or knows who is on our speed dial. Acting honestly toward everyone will bear good fruit and nurture a clear conscience. It will also increase the ability to take things in stride. An honest person usually does not make snap decisions, but takes time to ponder the options.
Some things are not what they seem to be at first glance. Other things are different below the surface. Evil things can happen under the guise of the good. When a couple meet, one may have stars in her eyes and thinks the other is sensational, charming, and handsome. In actuality, when the stars dim, he is self centered, deceitful and manipulative. For the first time in gambling, a man plays poker or slots and he wins. After that he thinks it will happen again and he becomes addicted. The Roe vs Wade case was thought to be beneficial. However, it took away the baby’s humanity while in the womb. This was a big win for the pro-choice people who were fighting for the woman’s rights. But what about the baby’s rights? A product receives an abundance of good comments from its users on the internet. In reality, the company that produces the product paid many people to write good comments. The deeper we descend into an evil situation the harder it is to get out.
When we make decisions we must learn to be alert to hidden graces and be still to hear the quiet voice of God. By being receptive to grace we can stand up for what we believe, even though it might not be popular. Honesty calls us to be authentic and true to who we are as Christians and live what we believe.