I asked for the manager, and the young lady behind the desk went to find him after I assured her that I really did need him and she could not handle the problem. “Uh oh,” her eyes said, obviously expecting a serious complaint. When the manager came, I opened my ledger, explained the problem, and offered to rewrite the check, less the stop payment charge on the first one. They were the ones who lost it after all.
For a moment he just stood there. He was so shocked that the words would not come, not even to okay this solution to the problem. Finally he said, “I appreciate your honesty. Give me a few days and we will see if the check is around here somewhere.” I said that was fine, but as I walked away I felt his eyes on my back. I was some sort of alien creature, he probably decided. Anyone else would have jumped at the chance for a week’s worth of free groceries.
Honesty is a rare commodity these days. For a country that claims to be “Christian” this is a travesty. Honesty is perhaps the most important factor in whether or not we will be saved. Jesus himself said that the Word could only grow in hearts that were “honest and good,” Luke 8:15, and how will I ever know I need the Lord if I am never honest with myself?
` I think that nothing makes me angrier than to have someone accuse me of lying. Yet, I know that others lie every day. Keith’s work is totally infested with it. Lies are a criminal’s stock in trade. What is so funny is that when they get started, he usually interrupts them and finishes their stories. They look at him in amazement. “Don’t think you are so smart,” he tells them. “I’ve heard them all before.”
And they usually trip themselves up anyway. How about the guy who “accidentally” killed his girlfriend? “You fumbled the gun in an armload of stuff and hit her? What bad luck. Where?” Keith prompted.
“In the leg. The second time I got her in the face,” he answered. The second time. “Accidentally.” Suuuure. Lying lips are an abomination to Jehovah, but they who deal truly are his delight, Prov 12:22.
Too many people who, technically, are not criminals think they can get away with dishonesty as well. They cheat every little chance they get, bending the truth in their favor, or keeping part of it secret, the part that will benefit them. False balances are an abomination to Jehovah, but a just weight is his delight, Prov 11:1.
Dishonesty may seem small when compared to other sins, but God places it among what we would consider the worst, including murder, Rom 1:28ff, 1 Tim 1:9,10. Over and over the New Testament enjoins Christians to live an honest life in every area, 2 Cor 4:1,2; Eph 4:25; Phil 4:8; Col 3:9; 1 Thes 4:11,12, and it ends with this promise: But the fearful and unbelieving and abominable, and murderers and fornicators and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part shall be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death, Rev 21:8.
Go out there today and make someone look at you funny. Make someone wonder what planet you came from. Tell the truth. Pay your debts. Don’t take advantage of someone else’s poor math. He may snicker behind your back because you were so naïve as to be honest, actually paying what you owe rather than getting away with something, but his opinion is not the one that matters.
He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, he who despises the gain of oppression, that shakes his hands from taking a bribe, who stops his ears from hearing of blood and shuts his eyes from looking upon evil, he shall dwell on high, his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks, his bread shall be given him, his water shall be sure, Isa 33:15,16.