August 4 – Honesty is the Best Policy

Proverbs 11   (NLT)

( a variety of verses about honesty)

The Lord detests the use of dishonest scales,
    but he delights in accurate weights.

Honesty guides good people;
    dishonesty destroys treacherous people.

The godly are directed by honesty;
    the wicked fall beneath their load of sin.

20 The Lord detests people with crooked hearts,
    but he delights in those with integrity.

One of the things that strikes me as I read Proverbs is how blunt Solomon is with his advice.  You sure can’t misunderstand what he says.  I guess you could say he is very honest  (lol).

The phrase ‘honesty guides good people” makes me think.  I’ve never thought of honesty as a guide, but when you really think about it, if honesty is something you value, it does make a difference in the choices you make.  For example: it would make a difference in how I report my income taxes; it would make a difference in how much effort I put into my job; if I owned my own business, it would make a difference in my business decisions; it would make a difference in what I reported to customs officers after shopping in the States.  Those examples are more money or business related.

As a mom, I want my children to be honest.  I want to be able to believe them when they tell me where they’ve been, where they got some item that I didn’t provide the funds for, who they’ve been with, whose fault it is when something gets broken. And as you’ve probably realized that honesty training begins when they are very young.  The Bible tells us that we are born with a ‘sin nature’ –  that quality all of us have of being self-centered and thinking we know it all, of covering up any mistakes we make.  I’m sure you’ve had a toddler hide a cookie they took without permission or be very, very surprised when something seems to have made a mess. Teaching honesty starts really early.

How do you teach preschoolers to be honest?  I think by helping them own up to the mistakes they make, but not going overboard on the punishment side.  At this point in their lives, they need to realize there are consequences but fear shouldn’t be the major motivator for good behaviour. 

But as our children grow, I think the best way for them to become more honest is if they see it in us.  Kids are so intuitive.  They seem to be able to sense when we are upset even before we are willing to acknowledge it to ourselves. Ever heard that little voice say, “What’s wrong mommy/daddy?”  They can also seem to sense if we are telling the truth or not. Sometimes, they don’t have to rely on their intuition.  Have you ever told them not to tell daddy/mommy something?  

I have a vivid memory of something that happened when I was a child.  Our family had been on vacation with my aunt and uncle’s family.  The kids from both families often traded cars so we could be with the cousins closer to us in age.  I was in my uncle’s car when we pulled up to the customs booth after travelling through the States from Windsor to Sarnia. The custom’s officer asked if we had purchased anything in the States.  My aunt replied that she had purchased some peppermints and some gum when we had stopped for lunch in Detroit, and she held the two small packages up for him to see.  He laughed, and I thought my aunt was strange for mentioning something so insignificant. But it’s funny that I remember that situation many years later, and I can also tell you that my aunt was almost too honest in all her dealings – if that’s possible.  I knew her from many visits over the years, and I knew that she was very honest and fair.  

My own parents also emphasized integrity in their home.  It does rub off and make an impression. As a teenager, I knew that I would have to face that disappointment and disbelief if I was caught doing something dishonest in any way.  I knew from growing up in that home that honesty was highly valued.  To cheat, lie, or hide wrong made my stomach churn because I knew that wasn’t what God wanted from me. And you know what?  It saved me from a lot of stupid decisions in my growing up years.  The Bible is right.

“The integrity of the upright will guide them”  (verse 3  NASB) 

Our song for today is I Give You My Heart by Hillsong.