We all want to tell the truth and be honest. At least the idea sounds great. They’re the same quality after all, right?
Sadly, this is not the case. Although the two are definitely related, over time, society has perverted our ideas of telling the truth.
When we think of telling the truth, we interpret that as sharing facts or being true in what we say. When we interact with our spouses, children, parents, family, or friends, we often strive to give true statements.
It feels good when we tell the truth over lying. As long as what comes out of our mouth is true, we are able to ignore any feelings of guilt.
Or are we?
How does being honest differ from telling the truth? If we look at a definition of honest, we can start to examine the difference:
Free of deceit; truthful and sincere… morally correct or virtuous¹
Let’s read that again. Free of deceit. Truthful. Sincere. Morally correct. Virtuous.
It is acting with integrity.
Stay with me a bit longer as I unpack how society has altered our idea of what truth and honesty are.
Have you heard the phrase “what he/she doesn’t know can’t hurt him/her?” or heard someone say they were omitting facts in order to “protect” someone’s feelings?
This is where the difference comes to be.
By omitting details or hiding information from others regardless of our motives, we are not being honest. Although what we may say is true, we are keeping secrets or skewing what we share.
Deceit. Lies (by omission).
Not morally correct.
How it should look
It is amazing how often sin creeps in and we pass it off as protecting someone from hurt feelings or carrying their burdens for them.
17 But the wisdom from above is first pure [morally and spiritually undefiled], then peace-loving [courteous, considerate], gentle, reasonable [and willing to listen], full of compassion and good fruits. It is unwavering, without [self-righteous] hypocrisy [and self-serving guile].
James 3:17 AMP
Jesus came as our saviour, showing our Father’s love for us, and showing an example of how we should act. If we are to be pure, peace-loving, gentle, reasonable, full of compassion and good fruits, unwavering, and without hypocrisy, omissions and deceit should have no place in our hearts.
8 “Blessed [anticipating God’s presence, spiritually mature] are the pure in heart [those with integrity, moral courage, and godly character], for they will see God.
Matthew 5:8 AMP
The promise we are given for acting with a pure heart and with integrity is to see God. I want to receive this blessing. The cost to lying or omitting is great, even if what we speak is true. If we are worried about feelings, we can instead act with love, listen, and be compassionate while they sort through how they’re feeling.
Why we need to be honest and truthful
8 Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart]. 9 The things which you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things [in daily life], and the God [who is the source] of peace and well-being will be with you.
Philippians 4:8-9 AMP
If there is any reason to be honest and not just tell the truth, this would be it for me.
Some people prefer warnings to heed, so here is one too:
9 He who walks in integrity and with moral character walks securely,
But he who takes a crooked way will be discovered and punished.
For me, personally, I’d rather be told the harsh reality than discover it later. I can deal with the pain in the moment rather than having to deal with the feeling of being lied to and dealing with the pain from a time past. In the moment, it hurts, but that pain can be worked through and I can move on. I can grow stronger. I seek healing and forgive. Lies from the past, for me, take longer to heal.
Disappoint me today, not tomorrow.
Don’t deceive me.
I deserve to know the whole truth and so do you. Tell the truth with honesty.
Maintain your integrity.
You owe it to yourself, your family and friends, but most of all, you owe it to God.
Many blessings to you!
Thank you to all who are following me on my journey; if you aren’t already, please feel free to follow me to get notifications of new posts.
How do you build the courage to act with honesty and integrity in difficult circumstances?
Feel free to comment below with ways you build courage, how I can pray for you, or any other comments!