Telling the truth isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes it may seem inconvenient. And it’s occasionally embarrassing. But telling the truth is what establishes and maintains honest relationships, and honest relationships enable freedom in our lives.
The good news is, as difficult as it can be at times, everybody has what it takes to express honesty. For instance, in the Gospel of Luke is the story of Zacchaeus, a tax collector with a reputation of cheating the locals (see 19:1-10). But Zacchaeus had heard about Christ Jesus and wanted to see what this man was all about, so when he heard Jesus was going to pass by, he climbed a tree in order to see above the crowd. Then, to Zacchaeus’ amazement, Jesus stopped under the tree and told him to come down because Jesus needed to stay at his home that day.
Zacchaeus must have felt a great sense of spiritual inspiration during this encounter, for he declared, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.” There are different scholarly interpretations of what was going on during this exchange, but it certainly seems that Jesus sensed a fundamental change in Zacchaeus, because he replied, “This day is salvation come to this house.”
Despite any previous behavior that might not have been exemplary, Zacchaeus was drawn to the Christ, Truth, that Jesus exemplified. This points to man’s true, spiritual nature as the reflection of God, divine Truth itself – integrity is the core of our true character. At any moment, when we open our heart to God, we can find a newborn sense of honesty that impacts not only ourselves, but those around us as well. It’s a natural state for all of us because we reflect the attributes of divine Principle, another name for God. God-derived qualities inherent in everyone include trustworthiness and incorruptibility.
A friend of mine saw the authority of Principle, God, proved in his workplace after the management instituted a practice of accepting various jobs as “cash jobs,” which meant they could bank the funds without declaring them for tax payments. My friend refused to have anything to do with such cash payments, and while his protest was accepted, it didn’t alter the company’s behavior, which left him troubled. In his distress he turned to God in prayer, and was led to consider the nature of God as divine Principle, governing all His creation, and this brought him a sense of peace and clarity. He ceased to be impressed by what he saw, and trusted in the reality and influence of what was spiritually true. The very next day, without any reference to my friend’s protest, the management themselves decided to halt the illicit practice and ensure all transactions went through the books.
This shows that even if someone is not acting up to the spiritual ideal at any given moment, we can still affirm that the spiritual man of God’s creating – which includes all of us – is not prone to deceit or deception. Our heartfelt acknowledgment of this spiritual fact leavens the general thought of humankind, helping those needing to be more forthright to find the will and moral courage to do so.
Truth-telling is a natural inclination for all. Our divine nature and character are pure, established by God, divine Principle. And as we each practice honesty and integrity to our highest sense of them, and look for and expect such attitudes and behavior in others – recognizing that God, Truth, leaves no one out – then this higher nature will become more and more prevalent and apparent, bringing healing.