It has always been difficult to find those who are truly honest. Some six hundred years before Christ, God commissioned Jeremiah saying, “Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem; See now and know; And seek in her open places If you can find a man, If there is anyone who executes judgment, Who seeks the truth, And I will pardon her” (Jer. 5: 1). God was looking for just one honest man so that he might pardon His people and avert the onslaught of Babylonia. None was found. About three hundred years later, Diogenes, the cynic of ancient Greece (c. 320 B.C.) was said to have gone about Athens with a lantern in the daytime, claiming to be looking for an honest man – but never finding one.
Honesty and integrity are again in short supply. The popular view point, sometimes called “conventional wisdom” says that total honesty is not only naive but stupid. For many, lying is justified if it is for the right reason. For some, it seems stupid not to lie in certain situations. The Humanist doctrine of “situation ethics” has taken hold in our country to the point that many are willing to compromise integrity and justify lying if the situation demands it.
Oh, how important are honesty and integrity! It is said that when Grover Cleveland was a boy, he insisted upon returning the egg that a neighbor's hen daily laid on the Cleveland side of the fence. Thus he early in life began to give proof of the honesty that marked him as a man and as a future President of the United States. Faithfulness to high principles in such little things leads to honesty in matters of greater importance. Likewise, to compromise with truth in seemingly small matters will pave the way for still more crooked dealings in the future.
The wise man Solomon said, “Better is the poor who walks in his integrity Than one who is perverse in his lips, and is a fool” (Prov. 19: 1). Peter admonishes Christians to conduct themselves honorably before an unbelieving world in order to glorify the name of Christ (1 Peter 2:12). May we learn the lesson expressed in the words of an unknown poet: “Dare to be honest, good, and sincere; Dare to be upright, and you'll ne'er need fear; God will sustain you, supply every need, as you live justly in word and in deed.”