Robby stared at the dent in his father’s car. He hadn’t meant to hit a rock when mowing the grass, but the impact of the rotating mower blade shot the rock into the side of dad’s car creating a dent about the size of a golf ball. He knew that Dad would discover the dent and ask him about it. Should he tell Dad the truth or should he pretend he never saw it?
Why is telling the truth important? Let’s go to the Bible, "Lies will get any man into trouble, but honesty is its own defense. Telling the truth gives a man great satisfaction, and hard work returns many blessings to him" (Proverbs 12:13-14, TLB). The truth may hurt for a moment, but in the end you will gain the respect and trust of others. When you tell one lie, you usually have to tell another to get you out of the first lie. Soon you are entangled in a web of lies.
Is it a sin to be dishonest? According to the Bible, sin is breaking the law. (James 2:10-12) The Ten Commandments are very clear about being dishonest. God wrote with His finger these words, "You shall not steal. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor" (Exodus 20:15-16, NIV). Stealing is dishonest and telling something that is not true is giving a false testimony.
Does God really expect honesty? Not only does He expect it, but He also deserves it. It’s in the Bible, "You deserve honesty from the heart; yes, utter sincerity and truthfulness. Oh, give me this wisdom"(Psalm 51:6, TLB). Being honest is one way to be wise.
The children of honest parents are blessed. The Bible says, "It is a wonderful heritage to have an honest father."(Proverbs 20:7, TLB). Honest parents will do their best to take care of you. Follow their example and be a blessing to them.
What if I just exaggerate when I’m talking about someone? That isn’t harmful, right? Exaggerating is still being dishonest. The Bible says, "Telling lies about someone is as harmful as hitting him with an ax, or wounding him with a sword, or shooting him with a sharp arrow” (Proverbs 25:18, TLB). One dishonest or negative comment can spread to many people. It could influence jobs, future friends and even school. What if someone said you “probably” cheated because you made such a high grade on a school test? Word spread to your teacher and to your friends. Even though no one could prove you cheated, it would be in the back of their minds all the time. There would always be a portion of distrust concerning you.
What if someone asks me for an opinion and my opinion is negative. Should I tell the truth? The Bible says, "In the end, people appreciate frankness more than flattery."(Proverbs 28:23, TLB). It is important though to remember that even truth must be spoken gently and in love. Turn the question around. If you were in that same situation, would you want someone to tell you the truth? How would you want them to tell you? A good rule to follow is to treat others as you want them to treat you.
What about cheating? Is it really being dishonest? Yes! It’s in the Bible, "The Lord hates cheating and delights in honesty"(Proverbs 11:1, TLB). Cheating hurts others and it hurts you. If you get away with it once, you will always be tempted to do it again.
Do it God’s way. He values honesty most. You’ll find it in the Bible, "God is more pleased when we are just and fair than when we give Him gifts." (Proverbs 21:3, TLB).