“Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye.” How many children have tried to convince their friends that what they were saying was indeed true, and it was so true they could quote that familiar phrase to prove it? A person of honesty or integrity is who everyone wants to be. We want our family and friends to be able to depend on our words.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines honesty as “fairness and straightforwardness of conduct.” A similar character trait is that of integrity: “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.”

God placed emphasis on honesty when He gave the Ten Commandments and said, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” (Exodus 20:16) This is not a new principle for us to understand. We all know and believe that you should never tell a lie. It’s not up for debate. No one thinks that there is a loophole when it comes to what the Bible has to say about telling the truth. If you’re not convinced, take a look at these passages of Scripture:

Proverbs 19:9 “A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall perish.”

Proverbs 12:22 “Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.”

Colossians 3:9 “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;”

Ephesians 4:25 “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.”

So, why write an article about lying? Perhaps we’re not as good as we think we are in the category of honesty and integrity.

My son, Owen, is 6 years old and is inquisitive about everything. You can imagine. Why does this happen, and how does this work? Why do we do that and why don’t we do that? I actually enjoy (most) of his questions! I love to teach him about new things and see him begin to learn.

One of the areas he has been inquiring about are traffic laws. Obviously, he understands the red, yellow, and green lights. But now he wants to know why do you turn right on red sometimes, and why can’t you honk your horn at everyone!

Well, he is also very interested in the speed limit on every road. He loves to look for the signs and see how fast we can go. I’ve told him that number is how fast you can go on that road and if you go faster, the police can pull you over and give you a ticket. One morning as we’re driving to school, Owen pipes up from the backseat of the car, “Dad, the speed limit is 70, how fast are you going?” Awkward silence. My initial reaction was to tell him, “Don’t worry about it!” Then, I thought I should say, “I’m going with the flow of traffic!” There was no way around it. I was going over 70, and I didn’t want my son to know that I was not a man of integrity in that moment. You see, I teach my son that he should do right at school even if others are not doing right. He should be truthful and upright in how he lives. And now, he has called me out that morning.

You see, if it’s ok for me to push the limits of integrity on the road, why wouldn’t it be ok for Owen to push the limits of integrity with me? If I show him by my example that there are certain areas in my life that lack honesty and integrity, why can’t he have some areas as well? If I try to get away with buying him a children’s buffet price even though he doesn’t qualify for it, have I not taught him that dishonesty is ok in certain circumstances? Dishonesty is more than a “little white lie.” Honesty and integrity are key for our everyday lives.

Sometimes we’re dishonest by the tone of our voice. Sometimes we’re dishonest by stating the truth but with the intention to lead the listener towards a different direction. It does not matter how you try to explain it, God is always against lying lips.

Ephesians 4:25 says, “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.” Don’t allow dishonesty to be normal in your life. Be a person of integrity.