“He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them.  For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder,

adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” – Mark 7:20-23

“There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him:  haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.” – Proverbs 6:16-19

“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”  – 2 Timothy 3:12-15

“For, whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.” – 1 Peter 3:10

It is important to work hard to always speak the truth and not deceive.  When we speak the truth but deliberately omit information for our own benefit, that is the same as lying.  Although it takes courage and a major effort to avoid deception, the benefit of not worrying about discovery of the deception more than compensates for the effort of honesty.

There is a major difference between an honest mistake and misconception that initially has personal benefits.  An honest mistake can be corrected as soon as it is noticed, while deliberate lies for one’s own benefit are extremely painful to correct.

John after learning he lost his job.

John was working his way through college for a small company that maintained the outside of their customers’ houses.  Mowing lawns, trimming bushes, flowers, and trees were among the duties John performed.  Bill, the owner of the company, spent significant time training John how to do the work and remove all the debris after the work is complete.  John was instructed to complete the clean-up prior to clocking out from work.

John appreciated the job which allowed him to cover part of his expenses for college.   One Saturday evening, John wanted to attend a football game at his college.  His friends were expecting him to be there.  His work that day included a lot of tree trimming.  John did not want to be late for the game, so he used a hose to spray water on the driveway and sidewalk and just cleared the tree trimmings to the drain.  John was trained to remove all debris and store the debris in trash containers.  He did not wish to be late for the game, so this time he did not complete his work completely. 

Bill contacted John weekly to verify John was able to complete the work properly. This week, John told Bill he did complete the work properly even though he did not put the trimmings in trash cans.  John assumed that no one would notice since the debris was in the drain of the sidewalk.

A few days later, there was a storm with heavy rain.  The drain was filled with the rain and spilled some of the debris back on the sidewalk.  Bill was furious.  Bill told John that there was no excuse for not completing the work and, more importantly, not informing him about the shortcut when asked if the work was complete.  Bill made it clear that John should have told him that John needed to leave early that day instead of deceiving him by saying the work was complete.  Bill could have scheduled another person to work that day or had someone else remove the debris.  John lost his job.

Although John spent the next four weeks finding a new job, he learned an important lesson that will assist him for the rest of his life.  It is much better to be honest about things as they happen and accept the consequences than to be dishonest and worry about discovery for a long time.   

It is so much better to be honest about difficult situations immediately and suffer the consequences of the situation, than to add being dishonest to the challenge and worry about future discovery. 

Of course we should all be honest all the time.  However, not only is honesty the right effort, but it is much less stressful over time to be honest initially instead of using deception. 

Published by Jim Brandt

Jim Brandt was an all-conference college football player and served as a Marine Corps pilot during the Vietnam War. He also started a software company and served as an executive for the fifth-largest bank in the United States. Brandt won the Democratic party nomination for Congress twice. He is married and has three children.