Exodus 20:16 | John 8:44 | John 14:6-7 | Proverbs 12:19
Is honesty really the best policy?
At the risk of being preachy, here are some reasons we think honesty is the bee’s knees…
God commands us not to speak falsely of others.
“You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.”(Exodus 20:16 NLT)
And as Mia reminded John in this episode of The Superbook Show, Jesus calls Satan The Father of Lies.
“For you [who do not believe me] are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.”(John 8:44 NLT)
So ask yourself this question: When you say something that isn’t true–for whatever purpose–are you showing yourself as a child of God?
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!”(John 14:6-7 NLT)
Yet sometimes lying can be so appealing. It can take the sting out of difficult situations. It can be used to avoid consequences. It can help you get your way.
The problem is that God wants your whole heart. And honestly, don’t we grow through facing difficulties? Don’t we learn from taking consequences? Aren’t we learning to follow God’s way instead of our own?
If so, then why lie? Face the truth. Embrace the truth. Speak the truth.
Truthful words stand the test of time, but lies are soon exposed.(Proverbs 12:19 NLT)
Questions for Group Discussion
- What about white lies–to spare someone’s feelings or to encourage them…do they count as lying? (See this brief article for insight.)
- Consider this: you are about to be interviewed on camera and seen by many people, but your clothes are visibly wrinkled and you don’t have time to fix them. You ask your friend, “How do I look?” How honest would you like your friend to be? Would you want to know about the wrinkles, or just hear “You look great”?
- In the situation above, would it be lying to just say, “You look great”? Is it possible to lie in matters of opinion such as this one? Is there a way to be truthful and still encouraging? Would saying something about the wrinkled clothes be helpful without the time to properly fix them? Would it be dishonest not to mention them?
- Can you remember the last time you chose to lie about something? (You may choose not to answer this out loud with a group.) What were the circumstances that led you to make that choice? Looking back on the situation, how would things be different if you told the truth?
- Have you ever faced serious consequences for lying? If so…has it made you more honest, or more careful in how you lie?
Challenge: Lies that Tell the Truth
A famous artist once called art “lies that make us realize truth”. While he was speaking specifically of paintings, the statement seems to apply even more to television, movies, and written fiction. A story may be completely fabricated in the mind of the author or brought to life on a painted soundstage by actors wearing slightly too much makeup, with circumstances falling into place in the most unrealistic fashion, but still the kernel of truth in the story shines through and is reflected in the mirror of your memory.
Write a fictional story based on an actual time you chose to lie. In your story, change your choice so that you told the truth instead. Be sure to include your struggle with the temptation to lie, and make a clear case for both choices. Also include the outcome of your choice to tell the truth.
As you write, consider the following…
- How would you be different, especially in terms of character, had you been honest?
- Who else would have been affected by your choice?
- How far-reaching were the effects of your choice, and would that have changed?
- What if you made the choice to be completely honest in every way?
- It’s okay to change the names, setting, and any other details of the actual story in writing this new one. You may want to write in the third person (he, she, etc.) instead of first person (I, we, etc.) for this story. Sometimes separating the story from yourself this way can help you see it more clearly.
- Your story should have a beginning, middle, and end. The beginning will likely deal with setting up the circumstances surrounding your choice to to lie or not. The middle would then describe the event of making your choice, and the end would lay out the consequences of your actions. However, if you enjoy creative writing and want to mix things up…go for it!
- Don’t worry about how long or short your story is. Your goal should be to adequately express the story as succinctly as possible. Don’t try to make it longer than it needs to be, or you will have trouble finding anyone to read it. On the other hand, try to describe the important points enough that people that form a good mental picture of what takes place.