Most people have times when being dishonest seems like a good way to get ahead. Have you ever cheated, and then felt terrible afterward?
Let me tell you about the time it was the hardest for me to be honest. I'd always liked baseball with a passion. Every day I practiced for hours. Constantly. Even at Christmas, I would hound kids in my neighborhood to play baseball in a vacant lot.
My best friend in high school - a guy who was willing to practice as much as I did - was drafted by a professional baseball team after playing for two years at a junior college. For him it was a dream come true. I also went to junior college for a while, but didn't play ball there.
Then I went to a four-year university, where I got the chance to sign a contract with a pro team, too. You can imagine how happy I was! Yet I decided to stay in school and play one more year of baseball there.
Here's where the honesty part comes in. Just before the baseball season began in my senior year, I found out that I would not be eligible to play if I'd attended college for more than a certain amount of time.
At first I didn't think anything of it. Then I remembered I'd taken classes at that junior college. The clock for my eligibility to play for the university had started ticking then.
My baseball coach and the people in the athletic department didn't know anything about that junior college. As far as they were concerned, I was eligible to play. I was sure that if I kept quiet about it, I'd stay on the team. It was up to me to speak up - or not.
But something I'd read in a book helped me make the choice to be honest: "Honesty is spiritual power. Dishonesty is human weakness, which forfeits divine help" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by Mary Baker Eddy, pg. 453). As important as baseball was to me, "spiritual power" and "divine help" were far more important than anything else in my life. To me, they involved looking first to God for everything.
It wasn't like God was going to punish me if I was dishonest. Actually, I saw that if I didn't say anything about going to that junior college, I would be punishing myself. I'd be trying to go at things on my own, instead of trusting God's help.
Well, even Jesus said, "I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things" (John 8:28). Jesus showed how obeying and trusting God gives spiritual power.
Once, he met a man whose son was very sick (see John 4:46-53). But Jesus knew that this boy was really God's child. That sickness was not more powerful than God. And the son was healed right on the spot.
I really respected Jesus. If even he could not go at life alone, how could I expect to? There was no way I was ready to leave God out of my life - that would be leaving good out of my life! That's why I decided to tell about having gone to junior college. And I wasn't allowed to play baseball.
Well, a few months later I had another chance to sign a contract with a professional baseball team. That showed me you can't ever lose a really good thing by being honest. As it turned out, though, I didn't sign with the team. By that time, my treasure in life had changed from baseball to a career I loved that involved helping people a lot every day.
Did I make the right decision? Sometimes, when I watch baseball on TV, I wonder if I could have played in the major leagues. I guess I'll never know. But I do know that being honest brought to my life the greatest happiness I can ever have - feeling close to God.
Whether or not you've ever been dishonest, you can always start doing better today. You can always let honesty shine in your life. It doesn't matter if people around you, or people in the news, aren't truthful. "Honesty is spiritual power." More than ever, the world needs honesty, and every bit of the power that goes with it!
Be ye therefore perfect,
even as your Father
which is in heaven