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Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand. But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord-who is the Spirit-makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

2 Corinthians 3:15-18 NLT

God wants us to live with unveiled, uncovered hearts. An uncovered heart is an honest heart—one that is completely open and in the light. God loves us, and he knows that an honest life is the best life. Free from the stress of pretending, we can find forgiveness and joy when we are real about who we are. We can see God more clearly and hear his guidance as he directs us down the best pathways for our lives (Psalm 32:8). 

Unfortunately, we as humans often find honesty scary. Our fear leads us to believe that if we reveal who we are, we risk rejection and pain that we simply can’t handle.

“This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.”

John 3:19-21 MSG

As Jesus taught in this passage, our fear of painful exposure will make us run from the light. The Bible even says that the human heart is the “most deceitful” of all things (Jeremiah 17:9). We can lie to others and even ourselves about who we are, and live stressful and unhappy lives as a result. 

What God tells us throughout the Scriptures is that the benefits of honesty are astronomical:

Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!

Psalm 32:2 NLT

Joy and freedom come from living honestly before God and others. Complete honesty with God is the pathway to joy, not to rejection and pain. Because of Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross, we can be confident that God has wiped out any guilt we might carry, and we don’t have to hide anything. 

An honest life is a good life. The Bible tells us that a lot of great things happen in our lives when we are honest, and we need to remember these promises to combat our fears. Let’s look at nine of the Bible’s promises about honesty so that God can guide us to a good, joyful, and powerful life. 

Honesty brings healing

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

James 5:16 NIV

The Bible tells us to be honest with each other about our sins so that we can be healed. Sin causes pain—to God, other people, and even ourselves (see Genesis 6:5-6, Matthew 24:12, Romans 7:21-25, and 2 Timothy 3:1-7). Confessing our sins to God and one another brings healing to each of these areas of our lives.

One of the biggest mistakes we can make when we feel guilty is covering up our sins rather than confessing them—yet it is very tempting to try to make the guilt disappear by sweeping it under the rug. 

I often see this in my relationship with my daughter. When I get angry with her, I feel terrible afterward. I need healing from the guilt I feel, and she needs healing from the ways that my anger hurt her feelings. But I usually feel so ashamed and guilty that the last thing I want to do is talk about what happened. I justify this by telling myself that maybe she didn’t notice my anger, and bringing it up would only make her dwell on it unnecessarily.

But this couldn’t be farther from the truth. We might tell ourselves that people around us will be more hurt if we share our sins, but that’s not the case. It’s more painful to the people around us when we pretend that our sins aren’t there than when we own up to them humbly and seek reconciliation. 

When I own up to my anger, I can find forgiveness from God and healing for my heart. Then I can talk to my daughter and heal our relationship. 

Even if people in our lives don’t know exactly what sins are weighing us down, they can feel the effects of our guilt. Sin causes distance (Isaiah 59:1-2) and makes us edgy (Proverbs 28:1). Honesty brings the healing we long for. 

Pause and reflect:

  • What are some relationships in my life that need healing?
  • How might my honesty and confession help those relationships? 

Honesty starts at home

I will be careful to live a pure life. I will live in my house with complete honesty. When will you come to me?

Psalm 101:2 ERV

We can usually put up a good front when we are out in public, but our real selves come out behind closed doors. 

Living an honest life starts with how we are at home. If we are living with complete honesty at home, we will see a few key signs: 

  • We act the same at home as we do in other places. A completely honest person will be true to themselves wherever they are. If we act nice at work but come home and complain, we are not living in complete honesty.
  • We initiate honest conversations at home. If we believe in complete honesty, we will bring it with us wherever we go. We won’t wait for other people to draw us out or ask us questions; we will freely share and initiate honest conversations regardless of what others do. 
  • We make other people feel free to be themselves. If people around us are scared to share their true thoughts, feelings, or guilt, we are not creating an honest home. Honesty means they see everything about us, so they aren’t scared to be open about their own weaknesses or mistakes. 
  • We don’t give partial truths. “Complete” honesty means “complete.” This means we can’t share partial stories or leave out pieces of information about what’s going on in our lives. For example, if we share that someone treated us wrongly, we need to share the full story—including our part in what happened.
  • We invite people into our homes. Sometimes, simply inviting someone over is a way to live in complete honesty. They will see who we are—from the messy bathroom to our fights with our parents. Honest people can embrace that they aren’t perfect, so they don’t try to put up a front.

Living honestly at home is freeing. It builds a home base of close, secure relationships in which we are known and loved for who we truly are. This gives us the security to go out into the world and be real about who we are.

Pause and reflect:

  • How can I build complete honesty into my home? 

Honesty never expires

His precepts will continue year in and year out, performed by His people with honesty and truth.

Psalm 111:8 Voice

“Precepts” are simply God’s instructions, which can be found in the Bible. They are good to follow year after year; they don’t shift, expire, or change. Their value is reliable, and they guide us to live an honest and true life. 

One helpful way to understand God’s guidelines is to think about “mission objectives” in a video game. In these games, a set of objectives guides us toward unlocking the next level. If we start drifting off course, the game will remind us through different characters and messages to get us back on track. 

God’s guidelines are similar. The truth of His Word will always direct us to a good life, much like unlocking a secret level where everything makes sense and becomes clearer. 

God knows that living honestly is a trustworthy way to build our lives, and His Word will always guide us back to a happy and fulfilling life. 

Pause and reflect:

  • How do I feel about living by God’s guidelines and instructions? Do I believe they will lead me to a happier and more fulfilling life? Why or why not? 

Honesty leads to a good life.

Life is good for the one who is generous and charitable, conducting affairs with honesty and truth.

Psalm 112:5 TPT

Life is good when we are honest. This doesn’t mean that everything goes perfectly or that bad things never happen to us. Difficult experiences are part of life (John 16:33), but when we live God’s way we can find joy and peace even in the midst of them. Truth keeps us afloat during these difficult times, much like a surfboard helps a surfer ride a wave. If our lives are built on honesty, we don’t have to get knocked down by every high or low wave of life.

Let’s look at a few ways honesty leads to a good life:

  • Life is less stressful when we are honest. When hard times hit, we don’t have to waste energy pretending to be strong when we aren’t. 
  • Life is more fun when we are honest. Free from the pressure to pretend to be someone we’re not, we can be true to ourselves and our beliefs. We don’t have to live like a chameleon, always changing ourselves to fit in. We can enjoy life without worrying about what other people think. 
  • Life is simpler when we are honest. We will all experience storms and troubles in life, but honesty protects us from the unnecessary ones. Decisions to lie, hide, sneak, and cheat our way through life will come back to bite us, causing unnecessary problems in the long run. Honesty protects us from these self-inflicted troubles and prevents a lot of stress.

Life is unpredictable, and it comes with good and bad. Honesty helps us stay afloat, no matter what comes.

Pause and reflect

  • How could honesty and truth lead me to a good life? 

Honesty pays off, but dishonesty backfires

Wealth you get by dishonesty will do you no good, but honesty can save your life.

Proverbs 10:2 GNT

Dishonesty backfires. Lying often seems like an easy solution that will save us from pain and help us get what we want. This verse talks about using dishonesty to get wealth, and wealth means more than money. It means status too, and we often lie about who we are to get the trust and respect of people around us. 

That’s why we need to remember the truth: dishonesty does not bring any good into our lives in the long run. 

When I was in middle school, a friend of mine was chosen for a role in a club that I really wanted. I was jealous and angry, and I started saying bad things about her behind her back. She heard the rumors and went to a teacher, who sat me down and asked if I was the one spreading them.

Faced with losing the respect of my teacher and my friend, I chose the easy way out. I thought that being honest would ruin my life and friendships, so I denied the whole thing. 

They knew I was lying, but no one could prove anything, so I left there free of any consequences. I thought my dishonesty had saved me that day, but the truth was that I lost the respect and trust of my friend and my teacher. And I felt pretty rotten about myself too.

Much later, when I decided to become a Christian, I went back to that friend and apologized for what I had done. Thankfully, she was very forgiving. Although I couldn’t undo the past, I realized that honesty brought a lot of healing. It was harder than lying, but it brought me more benefits in the end, like the trust of people around me and respect for myself.

Pause and reflect

  • What are some ways I have seen dishonesty backfire in my life?
  • What are some ways that honesty has saved me?

Honesty is music to God’s ears

The Lord hates cheating and delights in honesty.

Proverbs 11:1 TLB

“Delight” is the feeling we get when we listen to a favorite playlist or album, and it’s how God feels when we are honest with him. God feels great when we live honestly. He loves the truth, no matter how it sounds. 

God does not like us cheating our way through life. Cheating means taking shortcuts, and while it may seem easier and more appealing in the short term, it leads to weakness later. Cheating turns us into someone we don’t want to be. It makes us use people and things to get ahead, and it makes us avoid growing through the challenges we face in life. 

Pause and reflect:

  • In what areas of my life do I want to cheat or take shortcuts to get ahead?
  • How might honesty help me more than cheating?

Honesty is a compass that helps us navigate life

If you do the right thing, honesty will be your guide. But if you are crooked, you will be trapped by your own dishonesty

Proverbs 11:3 CEV 

Honesty is a guide, much like a compass that helps us navigate the journey of life. It always points us toward the truth and toward a good life. 

For example, imagine feeling overwhelmed and unsure how to complete a school project. If we don’t tell anyone how we feel (maybe because we are embarrassed, or simply don’t want to put the work into the project), we will be trapped in isolation, anxiety, and stress. We will either procrastinate and avoid the project completely, or we will spend tons of time and energy by ourselves trying to figure out what to do. 

But what if we were honest instead? If we told a teacher, parent, or tutor that we didn’t know what to do, they could give us guidance. The project would be much easier and probably more successful. 

In every area of life, honesty serves as a good and reliable guide. Dishonesty, on the other hand, traps us in situations and emotions that are harmful. 

When I finished my first semester of grad school, I was worn out. I was in an intensive, time-consuming program, and I felt physically exhausted, emotionally drained, and spiritually distant from God and friends. On top of all that, I was doubting whether or not I wanted to be in this field in the first place. 

At first, I didn’t want to be honest about what I was thinking and feeling. I wanted to just tough it out and grind through the next 2.5 years so that I could say I had a Master’s Degree. 

But the more honest I was with God and my friends, the more clarity I got. I saw many of the real reasons I wanted to stay in the program, and most of them weren’t about wanting to continue in the field. I wanted status and prestige. I felt incredibly insecure about what my classmates and teachers would think of me if I dropped out and I was also afraid of having to find a new career path. I felt sad about the idea of leaving people I had gotten to know well. 

There were reasons for staying and reasons for leaving, but it wasn’t until I was completely honest that I could navigate through the good and bad and be free to make a choice that was actually best for me. Because honesty guided me through it all, I was able to come out the other side confident in my decision with no regret. 

Pause and reflect

  • What are some situations in my life in which I need more guidance? How could honesty help?
  • What are some examples of ways dishonesty traps us?

Honesty makes our lives lighter, while dishonesty weighs us down.

Good people are directed by their honesty; the wicked shall fall beneath their load of sins.

Proverbs 11:5 TLB

Honesty directs us where to go, while dishonesty becomes a heavy burden. This is especially true when we are not honest about our sins. During my sophomore year of college, I was hiding sins I had been getting into with my boyfriend. Life felt hard and heavy; I didn’t have the energy to focus on school and my grades suffered. Even my relationship with my boyfriend felt confusing and dark. I felt guilty every time I was around him, and we weren’t happy, but we didn’t understand why. I didn’t think my sins were the problem—I thought they were making me happy and I didn’t want to let them go.

Eventually, I couldn’t hold everything in anymore. I was sitting with my roommate in our living room and everything spilled out of my mouth. I immediately felt lighter, and from that point on, things became much clearer. I was able to see the truth about myself and my dating relationship, and together we got helpful advice from our friends about how to change. 

Sin is deceitful; it lies to us and tells us that it is making us happy when it isn’t. That’s why we need to be honest about our sins and guilt rather than relying on deceit to protect our sinful choices.

Therefore this is what the Holy One of Israel says: “Because you have rejected this message, relied on oppression and depended on deceit,  this sin will become for you like a high wall, cracked and bulging, that collapses suddenly, in an instant.

 Isaiah 30:12-13 NIV

Deceit can easily become something we depend on. Rather than opening up about what we are really doing, we depend on lies to keep us safe. This passage tells us that deceit will eventually make us crack; the weight of our dishonesty and our sin will eventually make us crack and collapse.

Imagine sitting on a chair that appears sturdy but has some cracks that you can’t see. It might be fine the first time, and even many times after that. You may even start noticing the cracks, but tell yourself that it’s not a big deal because you have been sitting there just fine. But the cracks are slowly getting bigger, until one day you sit down and unexpectedly crash to the ground. 

Deceit about our sin makes us crack and collapse in life. The load we try to carry is too heavy, and we won’t be able to hold it for very long. 

Pause and reflect

  • How do I feel when I am carrying guilt or deceit?
  • What are some areas of my life in which I depend on deceit? How can I learn to depend on honesty instead?

Honesty leads us to forgiveness and friendship

But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

 1 John 1:7 NLT

Honesty is like a superpower, giving us the ability to experience forgiveness and have deep friendships. “Fellowship” simply means Christian friendships; when our lives are fully open, we will be able to build close relationships. Building spiritual relationships isn’t a matter of skill or personality. Closeness comes when we live honestly.

When we are honest, we will also be able to receive the forgiveness of God. It’s hard to believe that our sins have been cleansed when we haven’t admitted to God, ourselves, or anyone else, what they are. God’s forgiveness is always available to us because of Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross, but we won’t experience it if we don’t admit that we need it. 

Final thoughts

In closing, let’s think about our relationship with honesty. Do we feel the same way about it that God does? What could we be more honest about in order to experience the amazing benefits of living an honest life?

God wants us to be honest because he loves us and he knows that an honest life is a good life. Although it is very easy to be scared of honesty, we need to remember God’s promises about the amazing benefits of being truthful. Being true to ourselves makes life simpler and lighter. Honesty fills us with joy, lights up our lives with forgiveness, and guides us like a compass, offering incredible direction throughout our journey.

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This article was developed by the Deep Spirituality Editorial Staff.

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This article was developed by the Deep Spirituality Editorial Staff.

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Honesty Leads to a Good Life. It’s Time to Stop Running from It.  6