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Why Honesty Is a Quality Worth Developing

By Mormon.org
honest girl returning dropped money to woman

“An Honest Man—God’s Noblest Work”

Developing the quality of honesty is a lifelong human endeavor. The English poet Alexander Pope said, “An honest man’s the noblest work of God,” and rightly so. A more in-depth study of honesty reveals how applying or ignoring this seemingly simple virtue can take us to new heights or keep us far from our potential. In this enlightening talk, President Gordon B. Hinckley quotes Alexander Pope and boldly states his belief that honesty is the very essence of the gospel.

Honesty and Our Potential

Nobody gains lasting benefits from deceit, whether it be lying, cheating, or stealing; however, honesty builds trust, unveils more truth, and provides opportunities for greater responsibility and growth—which are some of the primary reasons for life. We are here to achieve as much as we possibly can in the short amount of time allotted to us. Any form of dishonesty can slow our progression and keep us from our true potential.

Self Honesty

When we lie to ourselves, it is often innocently. We might casually think to ourselves that we’re fat, ugly, lazy, or not quite good enough, but these are all serious forms of dishonesty. We are truly children of God who simply struggle to wrap our minds around the concept of being divine.

What does that really mean? It means that as children of God, we’re capable beyond our wildest dreams and that in life, we set our own limits. An inspiring example is Nick Vujicic, a man born without arms and legs who has defied odds with his attitude and accomplishments.

The thoughts we repeatedly think become evident in our attitude and appearance and eventually show up in our achievements or lack thereof. Whatever we say to ourselves most becomes our reality. It pays to tell ourselves the truth—and to do it often. The truth is you are a child of God and everything about you is special. Knowing this for yourself gives you the power to squeeze every last drop of wonderful out of life and provides you with endless opportunities to become more than you ever realized you could.

Honest with Others

The value of feeling safe with ourselves, others, and God cannot be overstated. This ideal environment is built on honesty.

Honesty with others builds trust and strong relationships. The resulting trust creates a safe, healthy environment perfectly suited for human growth and development. An honest, trustworthy environment is free from chaos, deception, confusion, and fear.

Make it a point to tell those around you the truth. Remind them regularly of the goodness you see in them. Helping others shake self-deception is like helping the blind to see. When we help others to see themselves clearly, we’re following Christ’s admonition to “love one another.”

Honest with God

We cannot lie to God. He has a perfect view of who we were, are, and can become. To see ourselves the way He sees us is a precious gift—one we should never be shy in asking Him for.

Perfecting Pinocchio

In Walt Disney’s version of Pinocchio, the little wooden puppet wants more than anything to make his father’s wish come true by becoming a “real boy.”

The blue fairy, who gave him life, also offered him advice and a promise, saying, “Prove yourself brave, truthful, and unselfish, and someday you will be a real boy.” Pinocchio had a challenging road ahead of him. He made friends who misguided and mislead him. He lied to cover up his mistakes, which caused his nose to grow. He distanced himself from his father, Geppetto, and was slow to listen to his conscience, Jiminy Cricket. Before long, he found himself stranded on Pleasure Island, half transformed into a donkey. When it seemed life couldn’t get worse, he was swallowed by a whale while trying to escape the island.

Inside the whale, Pinocchio was reunited with his father, who had been swallowed while looking for Pinocchio. Their reunion was happy. Geppetto was alarmed by the donkey ears and tail but quickly forgave his son. Pinocchio executed a brave plan to save them from the belly of the whale and in the process selflessly saved his father from drowning. After being washed up on the shore, Geppetto found Pinocchio lifeless. He took his little wooden son home, put him on the bed, and grieved at the bedside—at which time the blue fairy reappeared and granted Pinocchio’s wish to become a real boy.

Is the human journey much different than the story of Pinocchio? Deep down each of us desires to do good, be good, and live lives of truth and honesty. It takes practice, discipline, and conscious effort, but our very lives can become a beacon of light for others to follow—just like Jesus Christ.

Want to learn more about living a Christ-centered life? Chat with us.