Why Honesty Is Still the Best Policy
“Honesty is the best policy.”
We have all had this statement ingrained in us as children, but do we actually believe it is true?
Honesty is spoken about all across Scripture. The Old and New Testament authors write about the importance of being honest with others because it is commanded by God and because it maintains trust and unity in the body of Christ.
In the Old Testament, David writes about tasting and seeing that the Lord is good and how blessed those are that fear Him (Psalm 34:8-9, ESV). To do this well, he says you should “Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit” (Psalm 34:13, ESV).
Part of fearing the Lord and being blessed by Him is obeying His commandments.
In Exodus 20, God gives the nation of Israel The Ten Commandments, the ninth of which says, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16, ESV). The Bible does not simply teach us about honesty but commands us to be honest.
The New Testament writers take this teaching a step further and show us how honesty is important for our relationships.
Paul, in his letter to the Colossians, said, “Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices” (Colossians 3:9, ESV), and to the Ephesians, he says, “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another” (Ephesians 4:25, ESV).
Paul says that because we have been made new and joined together in the body of Christ, we should speak honestly with one another. When we lie or act without integrity toward a fellow believer, it ruins trust and unity between members of the body.
Dishonesty destroys trust in a relationship. When trust is broken, it is hard to maintain community in a body of believers. Being honest with our brothers and sisters in Christ is so important for not only our own hearts but their spiritual growth as well.
But what if the truth hurts?
The Bible says that we are to “[speak] the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15, ESV), meaning that we are not to be harsh in how we speak to others. We should check our heart’s motives before speaking the difficult truth to them.
Even when the truth hurts, honesty is still the best policy.
But what if being honest forces me to be vulnerable?
Sometimes, being honest with a brother or sister in Christ means making yourself vulnerable and sharing with them how you are truly doing.
When asked, “How have you been lately?” it’s easy for each of us no matter how we truly are to quickly reply, “I’m doing alright. Thanks for asking.” But is that the truth? Are we really just “alright”?
Surely there is more going on in our hearts than that. Surely that hopeless news from the doctor or that unanswered prayer is weighing heavily on us.
Part of being in a Christian community is bearing one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2, ESV), but we must be honest about what we are feeling and experiencing for others to carry the weight with us.
Being honest about your heart condition with others builds trust and lets them know that you will carry their burdens too if they let you.
Even when honesty makes you vulnerable, honesty is still the best policy.
Be honest with your brothers and sisters in Christ. Be honest when it hurts. Be honest when it is uncomfortable. Be honest when lying seems easier. Be obedient to God in keeping this simple yet complex commandment.
Honesty is still, and always will be, the best policy.