It’s Monday and that means it’s time for the latest post in the A Believer’s Character series. Joyice Harris of Raising Boys Homeschool has joined me in presenting an alphabetical list of character traits. Over the past several weeks I’ve talked about being attentive, bold, content, dependable, encouraging, forgiving, and generous. This week brings us to the letter H and I’m talking about the importance of honesty, while Joyice is writing about humility. Please pay her a visit today!
What is honesty?
Honesty is defined as the condition of being honest or truthful. It is also defined as being free from deceit or fraud.
What does the Bible say about honesty?
In the book of Acts we learn that the early church was full of love and generosity. The believers freely shared their possessions to help those in need. This included selling of land and giving the profit to the church.
They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. (Acts 2:45)
Acts 5:1-11 introduces us to a couple who also sold their land. Though Ananias and Sapphira gave too, they did not give completely. The Bible tells us that Ananias and Sapphira sold their land, but notes that they did not give the entire profit to the church. Instead, they mislead the church and secretly (or so they thought) kept a portion of the profit for themselves. When Peter confronted Ananias and Sapphira separately regarding their scheme, he noted they had lied to the Holy Spirit. The consequences of their lying were swift. Ananias and Sapphira died immediately and were carried off to be buried.
Acts 5:11 describes how the believers reacted to the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira by saying, “Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard of these events.” Punishment for lying was immediate and God quickly showed the believers exactly how He felt about dishonesty. I’m suspect there were many prayer gatherings that evening!
Lessons in Honesty
God expects His followers to be honest, so I have to teach my girlies to be honest. There are three examples of dishonesty I want the girlies to understand and turn away from.
- When you tell something other than the truth, you are being dishonest. We do not want our girlies to tell lies. Lying means speaking anything besides the truth. Doing so displeases God, destroys trust, creates problems, and leads to unpleasant consequences. We want the girlies to be honest so we encourage them to always tell the truth.
- When you use silence in an attempt to conceal the truth, you are being dishonest. It has been said that silence is the voice of complicity. If the girlies know that they’ve done something wrong and they fail to speak up about it, they are being dishonest. Their silence means they approve of the wrong doing and thus are serving as accomplices. This type of silence says that lying is okay. Staying silent like this is an act of dishonesty.
- When you fail to complete tasks you’ve committed to completing, you are being dishonest. My husband and I are working to make sure the girlies remember that keeping their word is important. If they tell someone they are going to do something or they agree to do something, and then they do not follow through, they are being dishonest. The words of Proverbs 20:25 warn of doing this: “It is a trap to dedicate do something rashly and only later to consider one’s vows.” Many times the girlies hastily agree to or promise to do something but later fail to complete the action because things are no longer convenient or because their feelings have changed. We want them to think before they make a commitment.
Ways to address dishonesty in children
- Encourage children to tell the truth immediately. Don’t play the “I’m going to ask you one more time” game as children may see that as an opportunity to delay truth telling.
- Establish consequences for failing to tell the truth. Let your children know what will happen if they tell lies. This may include loss of privileges, but also includes the tainting of their valuable reputations.
- Find out the reason behind the lie. Is the child telling a lie to gain attention, to get out of a responsibility, to impress someone, etc? Knowing the why behind the lie can help discourage further lying.
- Use proper questioning. Rather than back a child into a corner with a question such as, “Did you take the cookie?” consider saying, “I see that a cookie missing missing. Did you take it because you couldn’t wait to have dessert?” The former question invites a one word answer, but the latter question offers an opportunity for further dialogue. Sometimes the way the question is posed makes all the difference in the response given.
A prayer for honesty
Dear Lord, thank you for loving a sinner like me! Thank you for being quick to forgive me when I am untruthful. Please help me to remember how much You value truth and help me to follow the honest example You have set for me. Help me to wrap the belt of truth around my waist each and every day so that I can be used by You and set an example for others to follow. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
© 2014, Andrea Thorpe. All rights reserved.