Ask the friends and families of six people buried in a collapsed subway tunnel about complete honesty. Their loved ones’ rescue was delayed for hours when the contractor didn’t report the disaster to the authorities immediately. Instead, the company sealed the site and confiscated cell phones. It wasn’t an outright lie, but it was a cover-up. This dishonest act showed disregard for life.
In the book of Acts, God gave us a sobering example of how He views dishonesty (4:32–5:11). Some believers had sold their land and shared all the proceeds with the church. Ananias and Sapphira decided to do likewise. But the couple kept some money back despite declaring that they had given the whole amount. Expecting commendation, they were struck dead instead.
Was their punishment too harsh? After all, their “slight” lie wasn’t life-threatening. “Whoever falsely boasts of giving is like clouds and wind without rain,” warns Proverbs 25:14. The apostle Peter asked Ananias, “Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?” (Acts 5:3), adding, “You have not lied to men, but to God” (v.4).
If we are completely honest with ourselves, can we say that we are completely honest before God
Lord, by Your Spirit grant that we
In word and deed may honest be;
All falsehood we would cast aside—
From You, O Lord, we cannot hide. —D. De Haan
There are no degrees of honesty.