For Husbands and Wives, Grow, Learn, Well-being

Why telling the truth is not equivalent to being honest

Good intentions

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.

Read more: Powerful Proverbs 31 virtues that improved my life

The difference

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.

Not virtuous.

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.

“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

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]. 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.

Proverbs 10:9

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.

Read more: I promise to tell the whole truth; please help me God

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!

Sunbeams are visible in the trees and the text reads Why telling the truth is not equivalent to being honest.
We need to strive for more than just truth in our words, we need to be completely honest and tell the whole truth.


¹English Oxford Living Dictionaries – Honest Definition



4 thoughts on “Why telling the truth is not equivalent to being honest

  1. While this was a hard topic for me to read and contemplate, thank you so much for your insight and for challenging me to think about living by Christ’s example in this aspect of my life. I hope to hear more on this topic.

    1. Thank you for your comment. I know my husband and I have been really trying to analyze the difference and how society portrays each one. It’s a lot different than the truth as spoken in the bible. There will be more soon. Have a blessed day.

  2. That is a great point about the deceit in stating something. The simple point of omitting a bit of information breaks a statement from being honest. That is a hard thing to overcome, because it is so excepted everywhere, by everyone. May my words always be true and honest. Thanks for sharing.

    1. This is so true. It is everywhere and it is made to feel acceptable. But those omissions become baggage that we have to carry around and the guilt of not sharing it (no matter our intentions) can drive a wedge in our relationships with family, friends, and especially our spouses. Your comments hit it square on. Praying for the words you speak and that they may be everything you wished in your statement – honest and true. Thank you for your comment. Have a blessed day.

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