Where do Christians look for guidelines and advice on truthfulness and honesty? We find all the answers we need in the Bible, of course. Honesty is a very important concept in the Bible; it was even included in the Ten Commandments. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” Exodus 20:16 (English Standard Version) is the 9th commandment in most Christian denominations, but the 8th in the Catholic and Lutheran churches.
The actual chronological number of this, and any of the commandments, is not usually considered important. But, what is important is how many times the word “truth” is used in the Word of God. The answer is well over 200 in each Bible translation. It just goes to show that truthfulness and honesty are really important to God, and should be just as important to all Christians.
The main reason Christians regard honesty and truthfulness as such essential character traits is that these are important enough topics to be communicated by both God and Jesus. When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments in Exodus chapter 20, he included bearing false witness as a sin. It was etched in stone as one of the ten rules we must not break. Jesus also preached about honesty. Not only did he preach about the concept as we know it, telling the truth or telling lies, He also included that He is the truth.
Honesty can sometimes be very difficult, especially for Christians. How honest is too honest? What if telling the truth will hurt someone’s feelings? What if you really made a mistake, and the only way to hide it so you don’t get in trouble is to lie? All of these answers, and more, can be found in the Bible.
An example of one major Bible verse that deals with truthfulness and honesty is Proverbs 12:22. It reads “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight,” (English Standard Version). This verse shows that our truthfulness glorifies God, and our lies shame Him. We, as Christians, are called to give God glory in everything we do, and live to please Him. Yet, when we lie, we are doing the opposite. Lying is not just a poor character trait and a sin, it is an abomination and an insult to God.
Not only are we called to be honest with each other, we must also be honest with God himself. We are supposed to confess our sins, and be truthful with God at all times. Confessing is another word for telling the truth. We need to tell the truth to God, and each other. That’s how we receive God’s grace and mercy, by confessing. It’s important to remember that when you do confess your sins to God, no matter how big or small, you will be forgiven.
Here is a list of many other popular Bible verses referring to honesty, truthfulness, and integrity:
“Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.” Ephesians 4:25 (ESV)
“A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.” Proverbs 16: 28 (ESV)
“He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.” Psalm 24:4 (ESV)
“You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” Mark 10:19 (ESV)
“Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.” Proverbs 19:1 (ESV)
“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.” Proverbs 6:16-19 (ESV)
“Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.” 1 Peter 3:10 (ESV)
“Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices.” Colossians 3:9 (ESV)
“Righteous lips are the delight of a king, and he loves him who speaks what is right.” Proverbs 16:13 (ESV)
“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.” Proverbs 11: 3 (ESV)
“If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.” James 1:26 (ESV)
“So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.” Acts 24:16 (ESV)
As you can see, Christians should value truthfulness and honesty as a top priority because it is proven to be so important to God. If we want to please Him, we must be honest with ourselves, others, and God Himself. Even when telling the truth seems so difficult and lying seems so much easier, we must not give in to temptation. What would Jesus do? He would tell the truth.