The importance of honesty can never be overestimated

It’s always refreshing to encounter honesty. We once purchased a home from a very honest couple. We agreed on a price and shook hands. Our trust was such that they did not require a down payment and neither of us engaged a lawyer. Later we traveled together to Edmonton to transfer the title and the matter was settled.

In contrast, the media recently related the hurtful dishonesty of 23-year-old Ashley Kirilow. Pretending to have cancer, she shaved her head, waxed her eyebrows, plucked her eyelashes and raked in $20,000 through “Change for the Cure”, her fake charity. Her scheme was so convincing that one woman wrote, “I stand amazed that such a young soul could inspire so many with fresh drive to fight against a disease that has affected every one of us in some way.” Ashley’s plot ended abruptly when her father discovered her misdeeds and revealed the truth.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised. A USA Today poll taken several years ago reported that only 56 per cent of parents teach honesty to their children. Another poll revealed that 65 per cent of high school students would cheat on an important exam. And about the same time, Dr. Michael Lewis of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School boldly stated on national television that, “Lying is an important part of social life and children who are unable to do it are children who may have developmental problems.” Is it possible that culturally, at least to a degree, the foundation has been laid for lying to be the norm and honesty to be somewhat out of the ordinary?

The scriptures, Old and New Testament alike, place a high priority on honesty. The writer of Proverbs 30:7, 8 sincerely prays, “O God, I beg two favors from you before I die: First, help me never to tell a lie…”

Jesus, speaking to certain of His critics, explained the serious nature of dishonesty by bluntly stating, “You are the children of your father the Devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He has always hated the truth. There is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Another profound statement on honesty is found in Psalms 24:3, 4. It proclaims, “Who may climb the mountain of the Lord and enter where He lives? Who may stand before the Lord? Only those with pure hands and hearts, who do not practice dishonesty and lying.”

“A lie will easily get you out of a scrape, and yet, strangely and beautifully, rapture possesses you when you have taken the scrape and left out the lie.” C.E. Montague

— Pastor Ross Helgeton is senior pastor at Erskine Evangelical Free Church