Thursday, January 19, 2012

Honesty: Don't Buy The Lie

*Before you read this post, I know I said I would start posting on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. And that's what I've been doing and will keep doing. The reason this post is going up on Thursday is because we lost power yesterday and I couldn't finish my post. Sorry for any inconvenience!


Honesty is very valuable to possess, not only as a servant leader, or as a Christian, but as a human being. If you don't understand honesty and apply its principles to your life, then you'll lead a life of deceit and lies. That isn't a lifestyle that anyone can sustain for long. The problem with dishonesty and deceit is that one day, someone will find out your secret. You can't hide everything forever. Even if you die before the truth comes out, the truth will always come out, one way or another. And so it's important to be truthful from the beginning. Don't believe the lie that lies can benefit you: they won't. Telling a lie is only shooting yourself in the foot. However, being honest, even when it hurts, will always help you in the long run.

Now just like all the other qualities, honesty also has a definition. Honesty means being free from deception. A lot of people think that being truthful simply means not telling a lie. But it's more than that. Honesty means to communicate without deception. That means that telling part of the truth is lying. That means not speaking up about something when you know you should is lying. That means that little white lies are lies. Anytime you do something that's meant to deceive someone, it's a lie.

I believe the reason honesty is so important is because honesty builds trust. Honesty builds trust because when you always tell the truth, people will grow to trust that you will be truthful. When someone is always honest with me, even at their own expense, then they have earned my trust. Now I may not trust them in the way of giving them my car keys for the day, but I would trust what they say. I would value their opinion. I would know that whatever they have to say is from their heart and I can trust what comes out of their mouth.

Trust should be at the center of every relationship. Some people would say that love- not trust- should be the center of every relationship. But I disagree. You can trust someone without loving them and that relationship will still be somewhat good. It won't ever meet its full potential, but it's better than the relationship in which you love a person but cannot trust him or her. For example, imagine a situation in which a father has two son (disclaimer: this isn't the prodigal son story). Now imagine with me that the father doesn't truly love one son, yet that son has earned his father's trust and so he has entrusted all of his possessions and finances to that son. While love isn't in the picture, they work well together and get along fairly well. And now imagine with me that the father desperately loves his other son, yet that son is dishonest and deceitful, so his father can trust him with nothing. He has to babysit him and always be watching over him, because that son has a history of lying to his father. Now which relationship would you rather be in? The one without love? Or the one without trust? I would much rather be in the relationship with trust.

That's why I value honesty: because honesty builds trust, and trust should be the center of every relationship. And honesty is an especially important quality for a servant leader, because a leader, you expected to be a man of integrity. A leader who is dishonest is not worthy of the position he holds. It really is easier to just tell the truth from the beginning. I'm sure we've all witnessed public figures get caught in the act of lying. Look at how many athletes in recent years have gotten in trouble for lying to government officials about steroid use. And look at the number of politicians who are dishonest. How often do we see a politician say one thing during the elections but do another when they're in office? Bill Clinton comes to mind.

So many prominent figures have tarnished their reputations because they tried to lie to the public. The easiest thing to do is to not do the act in the first place so you don't have to lie to cover it up! There is a reason the Bible is so emphatic on telling the truth: it's to protect us. It's to keep us from the harm and headache that comes from lying. Proverbs 19:5, 9 warns, "A false witness will not go unpunished, and whoever pours out lies will not go free... A false witness will not go unpunished, and whoever pours out lies will perish." We should tell the truth because it's the right thing to do and because it's in our best interest to.

Your life will be easier if you choose honesty over deceit. As Christians, as servant leaders, I ask you to be honest. Don't buy the lie that deception benefits you. Live a life of honesty and integrity. Build relationships through trust. Choose to live with a clear conscious. Choose honesty.

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