How do you stand on honesty?
Like all sin, dishonesty is a slippery slope. It starts small then grows into a habit. Before you know it, you're telling one lie to cover another. Your life becomes a giant Jenga tower, ready to tip over if someone finds you out.
We single Christians may be tempted to join the crowd of lying politicians, celebrities, and corporate executives. We think, "Who's going to know?" Or "Everybody's doing it. Why shouldn't I?"
But God doesn't want you to live that way. The Bible is blunt about it:
"The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy." (Proverbs 12:22, NIV)
If you don't think honesty is a big deal, take five minutes to read this and measure your truthfulness.
People remember. They pay attention. They're constantly evaluating you, whether you realize it or not. Your level of honesty is one way they judge you.
In the workplace, believers represent Jesus Christ whether we like it or not. Even if you haven't told people you're a Christian, you have an obligation to God to be truthful no matter where you are. We don't get a "pass" because society has a lax set of rules.
Coworkers or bosses may lie to cover their mistakes or to take credit for work they didn't do. It's a common thing. Even so, employees lose the respect of others when that person tells an untruth.
Lying on dating apps is rampant. It's no way to start a relationship or maintain one. Be trustworthy with the people you date.
I was blessed to have parents who had a high regard for honesty. They taught my brother and me to tell the truth, all the time. In many families, that's not the case. Lying is tolerated and sometimes even encouraged.
In elementary school, I decided on an ironclad rule for the rest of my life:
I would rather look stupid than lie.
Many times over the years, I did look stupid by telling the truth when I could have lied my way out of an embarrassing situation. Whether it was with my boss, my girl friend, or relatives, I continued to follow that rule. I don't regret it a bit.
Protect your reputation for integrity by telling the truth every time, by being solid when you give your word. When you're an authentic person, people will trust you.
Here's the ugly truth about liars. People who lie insult the intelligence of those around them. Liars believe others are too stupid to fact-check them or that others are so gullible they'll believe lies just because of who says them.
Our self-talk goes on almost nonstop while we're awake. Not all of it is good, though.
We singles have a habit of beating ourselves up. We figure someone must be liable for blame in every situation, and it might as well be the person in our mirror. Self-attacks are dishonest in the sense that you are not always to blame for bad circumstances. You just happen to be handy.
The real issue is whether you deserve these inward punches. The aim in our lives, as I see it, is not self-punishment but correction. There's a lesson to be learned in every case. However, it doesn't have to come with a beating. Learn the lesson. Forgive yourself. Move on.
On the other hand, sometimes we lie to ourselves about our faults. It's easier than dealing with them, and if you have shaky self-esteem to begin with, denial only makes matters worse. Again, change is the goal.
God is intent on transforming believers into the image of his Son, Jesus, in the lifelong process called sanctification. Sometimes it's painful. Whatever doesn't look like Jesus has to be chipped away so the traits that do look like Jesus can be added.
It's in our best interest to cooperate as the Holy Spirit molds us into who God wants us to be. When we're honest with ourselves, we want to help with this process, not fight it.
As preposterous as it sounds, many of us try to hide things from God. Really? He knows everything there is to know about you; he knows you better than you know yourself. We're so used to putting on a front with other people, we think we can do it with God too.
Love can't flourish where dishonesty is present. God will always love you—unconditionally. But lying to God or trying to deceive him affects your love toward him. It means you don't trust him 100 percent. It means you have a distorted picture of who he is.
We can fool others and we can fool ourselves, but we can't fool God.
Some people say God has no expectations of us. They say he knows we have a sinful nature, so he's not shocked when we sin. Yes, he does know what's in our hearts, but if he didn't have any expectations of us, he wouldn't have given us any commandments.
(Jesus said) “If you love me, keep my commands." (John 14:15, NIV)
God cannot lie. Think about that for a moment. He is always truthful. He wants his kingdom and his followers to be people of truth. That's you and I.
Jesus reserved his strongest criticism for the Pharisees, those self-righteous men who thought they were better than everyone else. Jesus called them hypocrites, people who say one thing and do another.
Today, unbelievers call Christians hypocrites when we do not practice what we preach. With the Holy Spirit's help, we can be people of integrity, starting with God.
Honesty isn't just a good idea; it's required of us.