One of the darkest spots in the moral blackness that seems to be enveloping our nation is the pervasive dishonesty that leaves us distrustful and doubtful about almost everything and everyone. Just look at the presidential election of 2016, which will go down in infamy as the worst of us trying to lead the best of us. Flip a coin and no matter who wins, they won’t be able to lead effectively because of the distrust most have of the two major candidates. Both candidates are lying about each other to a degree that no one will ever trust their leadership. Politics used to be a difference in policy. Now-a-days, politics has nothing to do but diminishing your opponent as a crook or one who doesn’t have the character of governing the country.
Dishonesty, from the slight bending of truth to the bold lie, is the norm in American society today. Gone is the hand-shake agreement. Gone is a man’s word as his bond. Lying comes in many forms and is called by many names. It may be infidelity, faithlessness, falsehood, deceit, trickery, duplicity, cheating, stealing, swindling, fraud, forgery, perjury, treason, or just plain lying. It’s all the same thing and it’s all grossly immoral.
But there is little in our society to support honesty and integrity today. There are few examples of genuinely honest people to imitate anymore. Anyone who is moral and honest is discredited as naive or a simpleton. Those who are liars and dishonest are credited as successful and intelligent.
Much of today’s advertising is nothing short of professionally created deceit. What is more dishonest than the men and women who throw their marriage vows out the window and commit adultery. They are liars as well as fornicators. It is dishonest to say homosexuals and lesbians were born that way. It is dishonest to say a fetus is not human. It is dishonest to say greed and blind ambition are godly attributes.
It would be a mistake not to mention the charlatans in religion who wave their Bibles and call for others to repent when they are themselves are philandering. Preachers who go from church to church in order to gain more money is common place. Preachers who drain the coffers of the church to a degree that the church cannot or will not support the needy saints is all too common (Rom 16:17,18).
Whether you are buying a product, choosing a candidate, considering marriage or just wanting to find a good friend, you suffer from this nagging lack of confidence, a fear that you are going to be ripped off, lied to, cheated on, or betrayed. It is a source of considerable unhappiness.
Trust is the bond or glue that holds relationships together. When it is destroyed those relationships and the institutions built upon them are jeopardized. Honesty is a basic building block of civilized society, but it must be taught, reinforced, prized, and honored.
Too many today throw away one of the greatest possible pleasures of life, a reputation for honesty and integrity. Many business people fail because they destroy their greatest asset, trustworthiness. Truthfulness has great value. The ancient Solomon wrote, “Buy the truth, and do not sell it” (Prov. 23:23).
Some religions water down the moral demand for the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Some speak of “little white lies” as opposed to “big lies”, but the Bible makes no such distinctions. A lie is a lie no matter how big or small it is and often does irreparable harm.
Some, like the Roman procurator who sentenced Jesus to death, can’t seem to tell the difference between truth and lies. Pilate said, “What is truth?” However, in Revelation 21:8 the Scripture teaches that “all liars” will spend eternity in “the lake which burns with fire and brimstone,” along with the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, and idolaters.
That puts liars in pretty bad company and affirms the premise that dishonesty doesn’t pay, at least not in the hereafter. Even if lying or dishonesty pays for the short term here on earth, eventually one will reap what they sow (Gal 6:7). Eventually, sin will find you out (Nu 32:23). The old adage had it right from the start: “Honesty is the best policy” and if one wants to gain eternal life, “Honesty is the only policy”!