Question: What the Bible Says About... Honesty and Truth
What is honesty and why is it so important? What's wrong with a little white lie? The Bible actually has a lot to say about honesty, as God has called Christian teens to be honest people. Even little white lies to protect someone's feelings can compromise your faith. Remember that speaking and living the truth help those around us come to the Truth.
God, Honesty, and Truth
Christ said that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. If Christ is Truth, then it follows that lying is moving away from Christ. Being honest is about following in God's footsteps, for He cannot lie. If the Christian teen's goal is to become more God-like and God-centered, then honesty needs to be a focus.
Hebrews 6:18 - "So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie." (NLT)
Reveals Our Character
Honesty is a direct reflection of your inner character. Your actions are a reflection on your faith, and reflecting the truth in your actions is a part of being a good witness. Learning how to be more honest will also help you keep a clear conscious.
Character plays a big role in where you go in your life. Honesty is considered a characteristic employers and college interviewers look for in candidates. When you are faithful and honest, it shows.
Luke 16:10 - "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." (NIV)
1 Timothy 1:19 - "Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked." (NLT)
Proverbs 12:5 - "The plans of the righteous are just, but the advice of the wicked is deceitful."(NIV)
While your honesty level is a reflection of your character, it is also a way to show your faith. In the Bible, God made honesty one of his commandments. Since God cannot lie, He sets the example for all of His people. It is God's desire that we follow that example in all that we do.
Exodus 20:16 - "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor." (NIV)
Proverbs 16:11 - "The Lord demands accurate scales and balances; he sets the standards for fairness." (NLT)
Psalm 119:160 - "The very essence of your words is truth; all your just regulations will stand forever." (NLT)
Keeping Your Faith Strong
Being honest is not always easy. As Christians we know how easy it is to fall into sin. Therefore, you need to work at being truthful, and it is work. The world does not give us easy situations, and sometimes we need to really work to keep our eyes on God in order to find the answers. Being honest can sometimes hurt, but knowing that you are following what God wants for you will make you more faithful in the end.
Honesty is also not just how you speak to others, but also how you speak to yourself. While humility and modesty is a good thing, being too harsh on yourself is not being truthful. Also, thinking too highly of yourself is a sin. Thus, it is important for you to find a balance of knowing your blessings and shortcomings so you can continue to grow.
Proverbs 11:3 - "Honesty guides good people; dishonesty destroys treacherous people." (NLT)
Romans 12:3 - "Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us." (NLT)
In the dictionary, the word integrity means 1) an unimpaired condition, i.e., soundness, wholeness 2) firm adherence to a code of moral values, i.e., incorruptible, honor, 3) the quality or state of being complete or undivided, i.e., completeness. Synonyms of integrity are honesty and unity.
The word integrity is related to what other words? Do they give you a better sense of the meaning of integrity?
The first definition (soundness or wholeness) is most often applied to a structure or a physical object, say the girders in a bridge, an engine block, or a piece of pottery. Can it be applied to a person as well?
Thinking just of the first definition above, what happens to something that does not have integrity?
We frequently think of a man of integrity being honest and trustworthy, but integrity is more than that. Look at the second definition and describe the difference between being trustworthy and being incorruptible.
I. Some Biblical verses pertaining to "honesty"
Exod. 20:16 - "you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor"
Exod. 23:1 - "you shall not carry a false rumor"
Exod. 23:7 - "keep far from a false charge"
Prov. 6:12 - "a worthless person, a wicked man, is the one who walks with a false mouth"
Prov. 6:19 - "things which the Lord hates...a false witness who utters lies"
Prov. 12:17 - "He who speaks truth tells what is right, but a false witness, deceit"
Prov. 12:22 - "lying lips are an abomination to the Lord"
Prov. 13:5 - "a righteous man hates falsehood"
Prov. 14:5 - "A faithful witness will not lie, but a false witness speaks lies"
Prov. 19:5,9 - "a false witness will not go unpunished"
Prov. 25:18 - "like a club and a sword and a sharp arrow is a man who bears false witness
against his neighbor"
Matt. 15:19 - "out of the heart come evil thoughts...false witness, slanders..."
Lk. 8:15 - "an honest and good heart"
I Cor. 13:6 - "love...rejoices with the truth"
II Cor. 4:2 - "by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves"
Eph. 4:15 - "speaking the truth in love"
Heb. 13:18 - "desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things"
II Pt. 2:3 - "false prophets will exploit you with false words"
I Jn. 2:21 - "no lie is of the truth"
Rev. 21:27 - "no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it (heaven)"
II. Forms of dishonesty
A. Falsehood, lies, inaccuracy
B. Exaggerations, embellishments
C. Deceit, misleading another
D. Fraud, cheating
G. False-accusations, false-charges
H. Rumors - Exod. 23:1
III. Basis of honesty
A. Christ is Truth - John 14:6; 8:32,36
B. God cannot lie - Heb. 6:18
C. Satan is the father of lies - Jn. 8:44
IV. Forms of honesty
A. Accuracy, truth-telling
B. Integrity - true to one's word
C. Credibility, pattern of believability
D. Complete communication
E. Faithfulness - do what you say you'll do
F. Keep your promises
V. Examples where honesty should be employed by Christians
A. When completing income tax forms
B. When selling an automobile
C. When you are given too much change
D. When you are told a rumor
E. When you break something
F. When you owe people money
G. When someone calls and you do not want to talk to them
H. When you are reminiscing and telling a story
I. When you tell someone how much you paid for something
J. When you are asked for your opinion or advice
K. When you fill out credit applications
L. When you give character references
What does the Bible have to say about integrity?
Integrity means treating people fairly and honestly. (Leviticus 19:35-36, Deut 25:15, Proverbs 16:11-13)
Integrity is giving your word and keeping it. (Exodus 8:28-32)
Integrity will protect you. In Psalm 25, David prays that integrity and uprightness will protect him. How can it? (Psalm 25:21, Proverbs 2:7-8, 10:9, 11:3, 13:6)
Integrity is more valuable than riches. (Proverbs 28:6)
The Lord will test and judge your integrity. (1 Chronicles 29:17, Psalm 7:8)
The Lord hates lies and lack of integrity. (Zechariah 8:16-17)
It may be difficult to maintain your integrity. (Job 2:3, 2:9, Proverbs 29:10)
Your character can be corrupted by bad company. (1 Corinthians 15:33)
Integrity will be rewarded. (1 Kings 9:4-5, Nehemiah 7:2, Psalm 41:11-12)
Your integrity should set an example. (Titus 2:7)
Who do you know that you would describe as a person of integrity? What sets this person apart from other people of a similar age and position?
If people who know you were asked for five words that describe you, would integrity be one of them?
What can you do to improve your integrity?
James A. Fowler
Kelli Mahoney, About.com Guide