<<integrity, truthfulness>>

Honesty is a character quality that accurately lives out truth; when spoken it should be done with tact (love and gentleness) and at the appropriate time. To avoid offence, some things are best left unsaid or kept for another time. Honesty is the best and safest policy. Consider the outcomes of these deceptions: Jacob stealing Esau’s blessing, King Saul’s disobedience, Ananias and Sapphira lying to the Holy Spirit (Gen 27:41-45; 1 Sam 15:26; Act 5:1-11).

Pretending, deception and covering up don’t pay in the long term whereas integrity and truth do. Jesus said, "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much (Lk 16:10). Even in the small details that we may be tempted to rationalize away as inconsequential we are to be totally truthful otherwise this can lead to embarking on a slippery slope with greater and more serious disasterous actions. Do not consider you are not vulnerable to temptation. How often are we guilty of giving a false impression, in a similar manner of worshipping God with our lips, but our heart is far from Him (Isa 29:13; Mt 15:8). We must be completely honest with God (afterall He knows it all anyway), owning up to our sin and asking Him to show us the sin within.

False statements or lies may bluff others for a time. However, God, who hates dishonesty, always knows the truth and often others find out too, bringing humiliation and damage to the character of the person who tried to deceive (Deut 25:13-16; Ps 101:7; Prov 12:13). Don’t exaggerate the truth to make a good story; accountability to others and verifiable facts are safeguards.

Honesty in our communication is essential for long-lasting, good relationships. "The honesty of the upright guides them", so "speak the truth in love" (Prov 11:3; Eph 4:15). Excuses often veil the real reason, so let your ‘Yes’ be yes, and your ‘No’ be no (Mt 5:37). Do not offer or accept bribes nor defraud others, rather “Be careful to do what is right in

Is there something dishonest that I need to repent of?

the sight of everyone” (Ex 23:8; Eccl 7:7; Rom 12:17; 2 Cor 8:21). Do not be involved in any shady business dealings, or ‘modify’ transactions for personal advantage (Lev 19:35,36). A reputation of integrity, built up over time, can quickly be lost through a wrong decision or action.

While strong and immediate reactions to life’s challenges can easily become hurtful words or wrong actions if unwisely expressed towards others, we can express our feelings plainly and honestly to God in prayer (Job 7:11). He is all knowing (omniscient). He enables us to gain an eternal perspective on the situation and then we can deal constructively with those strong emotions – firstly dealing with our own attitudes, then if appropriate and when in control of ourselves, we can confront those involved to remedy the situation.

Paul tells his readers to judge themselves honestly with a correct appraisal – not too high an opion indicating pride or too low implying poor self-worth (Rom 12:3).

See also: accountability, bribes, cheating, deception, fairness, genuine, half-truth, integrity, lying, opinion, truth.