Far better to be right and poor than be wrong and rich (Proverbs 16:8 MSG).
Samuel the prophet stood before the nation that he led for 40 years and asked the people a very interesting question: “Have I ever taken advantage of you or exploited you? Have I ever taken a bribe or played fast and loose with the law? Bring your complaint and I’ll make it right. ‘Oh no,’ they said, ‘never have you done any of that'” (1 Samuel 12:3 MSG).
Today, does honesty even matter or has the plumb-line for integrity been distorted? Actually, there are no degrees of honesty; either you’re honest or you’re not. Anything that is not true is a lie and to compromise will be costly and often fatal. Unfortunately, many people do not consider the serious consequences that lying can bring into their lives. One being that every time dishonesty wins, it gets harder to convince our kids that honesty is the best policy.
The shift in our society from what is true and honorable is certainly lacking in the area of freedom from deceit or fraud. The valued adherence to the facts and responding with fairness and straightforwardness of conduct is quite frankly a lost art. William Shakespeare, speaking of ‘honesty being the best policy’ said, “If I lose my honor, I lose myself.” The relative worth of being honest is being able to objectively discern reality within ourselves from that which is untrue.
As a follower of Christ my actions and attitudes are always going to be judged, even in the smallest detail. The expression of the Christlike characteristic of honesty comes from within one’s heart of core beliefs. The more we live by the Word of God, the more honesty we will see expressed in us and through us. This merit of integrity is such a high priority in the life of a Christian that we refuse to be partakers in anything that is not founded on truth.
What magnitude of response would be given if today’s leaders would dare to inquire, ‘have I ever taken advantage or exploited you?’