Children who are taught to tell the truth are blessed. One grateful adult said, “Today, as a result of my upbringing, I’d rather die than lie.”

Being honest with others is vital, but another aspect is equally important—being honest with ourselves. Most of us easily see the faults of others but fiercely resist admitting the truth about ourselves.

Pastor and author Bob Smith lists some of our self-deceptions: “Others have prejudices, but we have convictions. Others are conceited, but in me it’s self-respect. When you spend time on your personal appearance, it’s vanity; in me, it’s just making the most of my God-given assets. In you, it’s touchiness; but in me, it’s sensitivity. In you, it’s worry; in me, concern.”

The apostle John teaches that if we say one thing but practice another, we are lying (v.6), deceiving ourselves (v.8), and even making God a liar (v.10). Having diagnosed our dishonesty as sin, John gave the prescription in verse 9—confession, or calling it what it is.

If we confess our dishonesty to God, we are forgiven and thoroughly cleansed. The glorious reward of that cleansing is the freedom to walk in the light (v.7). As always, honesty pays!