IF I WERE HONEST, THEN I would be honest enough to admit that I’m not, for scripture lays claim to the proper assessment of my heart when it says “let God be true and every man a liar” (Rom. 3:4).
However, the scriptures also tell us of honest people who are upright and have integrity. So which is it? If God is the measuring stick, then the assessment in Romans is correct; but if man is the measuring stick, then certain people can be referred to as honest with respect to others. Rationalization, however, will keep me focused on the latter rather than the former. If I am honest, I will allow scripture to keep these two in proper balance. If I put too much weight on one side of the scale, then I will become self-absorbed and overly introspective about my sin. If I put too much weight on the other side, then I become self exalting, “I thank God that I am not as other men…” (Lk.18:11).
So how am I to see my honesty? Let’s first understand that it is quite possible to be honest and yet at the same time lack integrity. How can this be? Because we can compartmentalize our honesty but not our integrity. Integrity deals with the whole person. The word integrity comes from the same source as the word integer which means “whole number.” A man can be meticulously honest in filling out his income tax while at the same time cheating on his wife. His honesty is compartmentalized. He is an honest man who lacks integrity. So if I were honest, then I would see the need to be a person of integrity, otherwise I will rationalize and think I am honest because I don’t cheat on my income tax.
Jesus was never known for telling the truth, but for claiming to BE the truth (John 14:6). My failure to tell the truth is forgiven by the one who is the truth. He sought the Father on our behalf when he said “Father, sanctify them by your word for your word is truth” (John 17:17).
The word of God is the training ground for truth-telling. I will always be growing in this area if I allow the word to sanctify me. The balance? I have been forgiven for not living up to the holy standard which says I am not to “bear false witness.” Honesty moves me to integrity and I can now see myself the way he sees me: “And you are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.” (Col. 2:10).