Our subject is a difficult one. Why? The baseness of our human nature is “self-centered.” Being honest is a part of our character that we must learn. Just watch those innocent little buggers under the age of 5. Most of them must be taught what honesty is and why it is a good thing. In addition, raw honesty is not always appreciated. Many people want to hear what pleases them, not unadulterated truth. As with many things, honesty has two sides.
Our definition will cover the most commonly used and obvious meanings: A refraining from lying, cheating, or stealing; a being truthful, trustworthy, or upright. Most usually understood as sincerity; fairness; straight forwardness of character. Scouts (boys & girls) are most noted for exhibiting these signature traits. They are always good traits to encourage.
Think of what symptoms are associated with honesty. It reflects one’s moral character. It is more that just the absence of dishonesty. Honesty has positive attributes as well as an absence of negative traits. An honest person will sometimes wrestle with what would be the right action. In making a decision ask yourself this question: if this were printed on the front page of the newspaper or on the nightly news, how would I feel? That question can help guide you in the right direction.
The impact of honesty is that a person without it cannot have good integrity. Why? Many times a person cannot have good, sound integrity without honesty. When our words match our actions daily, we will have good integrity. Honesty assures that our words match our actions. Honesty is a vital part of being sound and complete in our moral character. It is indicated by being consistently true to our values.
In relationships, honesty must be tempered with compassion. If we are honest in a relationship, words can be used that are totally honest but have a negative impact. What others hear can seem to be cruel. Words, while honest, may be received negatively by the hearer. If honesty borders on being negative or cruel, it is best left unsaid. At times thoughtless, raw honesty may seem right, but what is our motivation? Is our motivation to build up or tear down? We need to think about this question before we speak. It can help save a relationship.