By Randy Blackaby
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.
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.
It comes in many forms and is called by many names. It may be infidelity, faithlessness, falsehood, deceit, trickery, duplicity, cheating, stealing, swindling, fraud, forgery, per-jury, 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. Situational morality is commonly taught in most of our schools and there are few examples of genuinely honest people to imitate anymore.
Much of today’s advertising is nothing short of professionally created deceit. And 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.
Our politicians have a reputation for near inability to even come close to telling the truth. Our last president boldly said, “Read my lips. No new taxes.” He then approved a major new tax increase.
Our current president had earned the nickname “Slick Willie” before he was ever elected to the highest office in the land. He promised middle class tax cuts and a variety of other changes that he immediately backpedaled on when put in office.
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. Hypocrisy is yet another form of untruthfulness.
What Is the Result of All this Dishonesty?
First and foremost is the loss of trust. 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 religionists have attempted through sophistry, euphemism, and a situational ethic to water down the moral demand for the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Some speak of “little white lies” in contrast with “blacker” ones. But the Bible makes no such distinctions.
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?”
But in Revelation 21:8 the Scripture teaches that “all liars” will spend eternity in “the lake which burns with fire and brim-stone,” along with the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, and idolaters.
That puts liars in pretty bad company and affirms our premise that dishonesty doesn’t pay, here or hereafter.
Guardian of Truth XL: No. 19, p. 5
October 3, 1996