if we’re honest

This is it. This is the moment that I’ll lose it all. I close my eyes, drop my head, and take a deep breath. It’s finally happened. I’m caught. No escape, no way to talk my way out of it.

I’d been lying to my parents for months about where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing, and I’ve finally slipped up. My mind races and I think of a hundred excuses, but something inside me remembers a line I’d heard a pastor use once before, “lies only lead to more lies deeper wounds…”. I heed the advice I’d heard in a sermon years ago. I suck in a sharp breath of humiliation and instead think of an apology. I know what happens next; a lecture from my mom and a few shouts of frustration from my dad. They’ll hit me with the, “We’re not mad, we’re just disappointed…” and I’ll let it go in one ear and out the next. I was careless.

I didn’t have a deep guilt complex in my early years of high school; I’d serve my sentence of being grounded and then be right back doing the next stupid thing. The thing is, these moments of shame are meant to change you, to shape you and form you and teach you a lesson. The irony in this is that you must allow yourself to be changed. It’s a rare occasion when something hits deep enough to make an impression on your unwilling conscious.

Being honest, if we’re honest, is not easy. Lying is one of the easiest habitual sins and it’s toxic to the heart and the mind. One seemingly harmless little white lie has the power to alter both your future and your character. How many times do you have to lie to be considered a liar? Maybe the better question is how many times do you have to get caught lying to be considered a liar?

Honesty will make or break friendships, define your integrity, and create a foundation for your reputation. It builds trust – hard to earn and easy to lose. If we’re not careful, dishonesty can ruin us.

It’s clear in Scripture that the Lord has no tolerance for lying. Proverbs 6 tells us, “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to run into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.” (Proverbs 6:16-19 NLT)

Hold up.

Did you catch that?

Let’s back up for just a second.

“…haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood…” This verse just leveled lying with murder. That’s how important it is to God. Now, sin to God is all the same; it’s human standards that separate the ‘lesser sins’ from the worse ones. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never equated a little white lie to killing someone, but Solomon, the writer of this proverb and the wisest king to ever live, just did.

Like I said, lying and dishonesty can be a root of turmoil in relationships and reputations. How many times have you just slipped out a little harmless lie, maybe automatically? I know that I have. So many times. I am the worst at fabricating the truth to make things look a little better or to ease the pain on someone else’s heart. But, the Bible doesn’t say ‘…a lying tongue (except in certain cases when a little lie might seem to be the best thing) …”. It’s explicit: God detests lying.

I think that trust and honesty, which already go hand in hand, are two of the most important things in all relationships. Little lies lead to big lies, and the more you do it the more of a habit it will become. I know this. I’ve experienced this, I’ve learned this. I think that most of us have, and it is not an easy thing to quit. Today, I want to challenge you to test yourself. Ask the Lord to make you aware of every time you’re going to avoid telling the whole truth, even if only to evade pain. Being aware of it is the first step to stopping it.

If you let dishonesty rule your actions and emotions, you will eventually lose. Scripture tells us that the truth will always find its way out. In fact, Jesus said, “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.” That’s terrifying! All the lies you’ve ever told, the secrets you’ve kept; one day to be in the open for all to see.

So, what do we do? We repent where we can an be honest about the things that we know need be reconciled. It starts with us. When you’re honest with yourself, you will be more honest with those close to you. You will learn to habitually tell the truth, and transparency is a gift.

Being honest is worth every ounce of pain or humiliation that it may bring. It creates  trust, brings healing and forgiveness, and in hindsight it looks a whole lot better than the consequences of lying.

Always be honest with yourself and others; integrity often goes unnoticed until it’s no longer there.

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