Just How Honest Are You?

Just How Honest Are You?

We say we believe in honesty, but how well do we practice it?
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One of Paul's classmates is having a party on Friday night. Paul really wants to go, but his parents said no. Since it's not gonna be one of those wild drunken bashes or anything, and he's convinced Mom and Dad are just being overly protective, Paul hatches a plan.

He tells 'em he's going to a movie and then out for coffee with some youth group friends. Mom and Dad approve, Paul hops in the car, pulls away and heads. … straight for the party.

Hey, he thinks, nothing bad'll happen. Besides, they're just too paranoid! They're treating me like a kid!

Jennifer is filling out college applications, and she knows schools are impressed by extracurricular activities. Early in the semester, as a joke, she "crashed" the photo shoots for the French Club, Debate Team, Student Council and Service Society—clubs she never actually attended—just to get a few extra shots in the yearbook.

Hmm, she thought, the yearbook shows that I was in those clubs. So . …

And so she begins to write on one application, "French Club, Debate Team . …"

Chris is dreading this afternoon's chem quiz. He runs into Dave, who had the quiz first period.

"Well?" Chris asks. "How'd it go?"

"Brutal," Dave says. "But check this out. It fell off Mr. Lofton's desk, and I nabbed it. He never noticed."

It's the answer sheet for the quiz.

"Want it?" Dave asks, grinning.

Chris smiles and takes it, folds it up, and puts it in his pocket, suddenly feeling pretty good about that quiz.

How would you react in any of those situations? We've all been there. Opportunities to lie and cheat come up daily. The question is, Will we?

In a recent survey of almost 9,000 high school students:

  1. 92% lied to their parents in the past 12 months (79% two or more times)
  2. 78% lied to a teacher
  3. 71% cheated on a test

Now, stack those stats up against this one: Seventy-one percent of all teens say it's "very desirable" to live with "a high degree of integrity."

Something's not adding up here.

A youth pastor recently told Ignite Your Faith that most of his students are on fire for God. And yet when many of them pull out of the church parking lot, they change—becoming, among other things, dishonest. How many of us does that describe?

As Christians, we can find it relatively easy to say no to "big" sins like drugs and alcohol and premarital sex. But we sometimes find it harder to say no to dishonesty, especially when it doesn't seem to hurt anybody. Or does it?

"The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful" (Proverbs 12:22).

"Each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor" (Ephesians 4:25).

"You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32).

Why the struggle?

The Bible couldn't be any clearer: Truth good, lying bad. And we believe that. So why do so many of us still have a hard time with being totally honest?

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