Honesty: more than a policy

Most of us would agree that if we made the effort to be more honest, we would all be better off. Business would be more reliable. Government would be more stable. Home would be pleasanter. Some may feel that deliberate falsehood gets them more, but this ''more'' includes insecurity, distrust, contempt.

By the same token, honesty involves admitting and telling the truth, which secure not only genuine success, mutual trust, confidence, and affection but also a clear sense of one's true identity.

If honesty is all that worthwhile, why don't we employ it more often? Perhaps because we need to understand it better. Honesty is something higher than a human policy, even the best one. It certainly demands more. But its rewards are greater too. A policy is simply a course of action. It can exist without the knowledge, wisdom, or determination to execute it properly. It doesn't have to be beneficial. Policies good and bad abound in the world.

Like the other Commandments, the ninth one, ''Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour,'' n1 is more than a policy for better human relations. It's a living power, which exerts a strong influence for good on one's deepest moral sensibilities. When put to work, it transforms one's very character and circumstances.

n1 Exodus 20:16.

That's what true honesty is: power. This power is spiritual and selfless. It draws on the whole spectrum of the divine nature, of God who is Truth itself, for its healing impact. To understand that God is Truth, and that man is the very likeness of Truth, is of solid practical value for ourselves and our neighbor. To begin with, we not only desire to be more honest; we are more honest. And this can only bless us and others.

If, in ignorance of Truth, we were to view ourselves as little more than limited mortals, lacking what we think we need for satisfaction and completeness (and that's what people often believe), we might be tempted to deal with others dishonestly - steal objects or ideas from them, deceive them by pretending to be what we're not. Dishonesty might seem reasonable and justifiable, though our sense of security would be none the greater for it.

On the other hand, to understand our identity from a spiritual standpoint - as the image of God, expressing His absolute goodness and wholeness - is to be really honest with ourselves. This prompts us to be fair-minded and to tell the truth. It impels sharing instead of taking, builds the strength and confidence to support others rather than lean on them, and invalidates dishonesty.

We can't seek to evade Truth without distorting our concept of good and severely limiting our experience. But we won't want to evade it when we realize the immense rewards it has in store for us in the overcoming of sin, lack, and other limitations. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ''We cannot build safely on false foundations. Truth makes a new creature, in whom old things pass away and 'all things are become new.' Passions, selfishness, false appetites, hatred, fear, all sensuality, yield to spirituality, and the superabundance of being is on the side of God, good. '' n2

n2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 201.

To delve into the spiritual essence of honesty is to better understand our creator, divine Truth, and to experience the healing that naturally DAILY BIBLE VERSE Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in his commandments . . . Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. A good man sheweth favour, and lendeth; he will guide his affairs with discretion. Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance. Psalms 112:1, 4-6

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