“Lies will get any man into trouble, but honesty is its own defense.” Proverbs 12:13

By John E. Schrock, Businessman

Underline the key concepts found in this principle.

Webster defines honesty as fair and truthful, and being free from deceit. Basically, that describes a person who will not lie, cheat, or steal. This includes manipulation or misleading statements with the intent to deceive. That is why the Proverb says, lies will get us in trouble. The first lie was truth spoken with the intent to deceive (Gen. 3:4-5). Honesty is not just truth but truthfulness, which includes the intent of that truth. That is why Webster says honesty is genuine, frank and open; open meaning transparent.

Honesty is the core value of character. It is the stabilizer or governor of the soul. "It is its own defense." We cannot separate truth and honesty from God. Honesty is more than truth; it deals with motives and intents. It is a voice within us that suggests truth before we lie. Our founders understood this when they formed our constitution. Swearing under oath meant to "tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth." They knew that honesty was more than truth; it meant the whole truth of the matter. Honesty is probably the greatest of all human values. Honesty gives us great personal benefits and even greater community and national rewards.

Let’s take a look at what a society would be like if everyone were honest:

1) We would not need to lock our doors or have walls or fences around our businesses.

2) Our police force would diminish because most of our crime comes from lying, stealing and cheating.

3) Our divorce rate would decrease because we would solve our problems by not cheating.

4) Illegal drugs could be abolished and crime would almost be unheard of.

5) Security guards could be eliminated. We would practice "do unto others as we would have them do unto us."

6) Many attorneys would have to look for other work because our word would be our bond for most transactions.

7) Taxes could be 10% flat, the Bible standard.

8) Businesses could run with less management because employees would be honest about their jobs.

There are many other benefits that such an open society would produce, which is what freedom is all about. It would be life in the right form. Yes, there would be room for different opinions and arguments, and laws would have to be there for the ignorant and arrogant. There would be violations of law, but they would not be from evil intentions or to deceive. We would still have misunderstandings and make mistakes, but not intentionally. We would do our best and take responsibility for the rest.

Part of the reason governments don’t mind some evil and corruption is because the "management of sin" is good for the economy. To them crime creates work for the attorneys, courts, locksmiths, surveillance systems, security guards, and a ton of other things. To some this is an opportunity to create jobs and to raise taxes to fight crime. There will always be some corruption, but too much of it will eventually reduce our economy down to third world levels.

Isn’t it interesting that we can put a man on the moon and win world wars, but we can’t stop dishonesty. It all comes back to honesty starting from the top. If we were to start spending tax dollars to educate our society on the value of honesty and enforce the law with quick, stiff penalties for dishonesty, we could create a manageable society with a 10% flat tax and have money left over for infrastructures. Maybe we should consider Proverbs 20:30: "Punishment that hurts chases evil from the heart."

In order to create an honest society we must start at home, teaching our children to be honest and to respect law and authority. They must see and experience the value of honesty for themselves. Perhaps we should also practice Proverbs 25:5, "When you remove corrupt men from the King’s court, His reign will be just and fair." Honesty is of God; it is the right way to build a righteous and fair society.

This principle is part of the one year character development program: Foundations For Achievement.

Thoughts to Ponder:
Corruption is a fatal disease that can be cured only by honesty..