“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.” -Proverbs 10:9
As Christians, we are called to a life of honesty. We all know that the Bible tells us not to lie in Exodus 20:16 and other verses, but is not telling a lie all that honesty is about? No, I have found that honesty is all that and more. Honesty is commonly defined as “straightforward and sincere.” One of honesty’s symptoms is integrity: “Doing the right thing when nobody else is watching.” In short, I want to remind you today that living honestly means speaking truthfully but also walking rightly when nobody is watching.
It seems in today’s world, honesty and integrity are almost a things of the past. People are constantly doing whatever they want and not telling the truth about it. They walk in shadows of deceit using lies, secrets, and vague statements to hid what they are doing and what they live for. However, this is not how we as Christians are called to live. God calls us to be a beacon of light to the world around us, to walk in truth and integrity. He calls us to stand by our word and be honest in our dealings. We were created to be reflections of Jesus, who is the light of the earth. If we walk in the darkness of deceit then we will not look like and reflect Christ.
Though honesty can be applied to more than just our words, the term does speak specifically to what we say. Not telling a lie is being honest. However, it refers to more than just a straight lie; did you know that according to a Yiddish proverb, “A half-truth is a whole lie?” I have found this type of lie the most dangerous because people often do not know what to believe, so it is easy to deceive them.
Satan used half-truths, in Genesis 3 when he tricked Adam and Eve into eating the fruit, from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In verse four, the serpent told Eve, “Ye shall not surely die.” This was a half-truth. Satan was speaking the truth about the fact that Adam and Eve weren’t going to drop dead right after eating the fruit. However, he lied about not dying. After a certain number of years, Adam and Eve did die because they ate the fruit just as God said they would in Genesis 2:17.
There are some Christian authors and televangelists who often tell half-truths. I will not mention names but warn people to be on the lookout. Half-truths are especially dangerous for new Christians, as they may not know what is true and what is not and could be led astray. Jesus said in John 17:17, “Sanctify them in truth; your word is truth.” Granted, we should always go to the Bible as our source of truth, not man, yet we as humans need to be honest because, as William J. Toms put it, “Be careful how you live; you may be the only Bible some people read.”
Today, if you have been living a life of lies, whether flat out lies, half-truths, or just in general dishonesty in private, I encourage you to turn your heart to Christ and repent. Seek His truth and His freedom that comes upon you when you walk in integrity! Becoming honest is not only morally right, but it also provides you with peace and lightens your guilt and shame, so you don’t have to carry that through life. On this thought, I’ll leave you with one last verse from Proverbs 12:22: “The Lord desists lying lips, but He delights in people who are trustworthy.”
All Bible verses from the NIV.