It remains true, though we seemingly do not see it adhered to as much these days. In fact the opposite, is shielded under other names, and accepted as just everyday common practice.
Enough is enough, we know words have meanings, and those meanings can aid your discernment if you choose to accept this best policy, we’ll discuss on this edition of “Becoming Today”.
Simply put “honesty is the best policy”. Both for the recipient of the message and the one communicating it. Yes we can handle the truth, sometimes it may be painful, but remember in the moment, ‘this too shall pass’.
We must always speak the truth, because once you say the words you can not take them back. Sure you can and should ask for forgiveness but the energy and intent you have released will still have their own impacts on both those who receive the message and the one who shares it.
Words represent what is in your heart. They can reveal the content of your character. If you embrace falsehoods you empower evil and illicit purposes. And you can not hide this fact. Eventually the day will come when you are fully held accountable. You will not be questioned about who did this, or what they did, only on your actions.
Therefore you need to choose your words wisely.
A recent study reveals that as a collective planet we have used more words than ever before.
That’s a fact that has been noted regularly throughout this century, however in our pandemic readjusted realities, it was further accelerated.
However the quality of our words is declining greatly.. The meaning,associated with our word choices, the tone and the acceptance of them has also been marginalized like never before.
That makes it all the more important to refresh our skills of communication along our shared journey so that others may have common definitions, combined understandings and truly are hearing what we are trying to say.
We should also be focused on communicating honestly and truthfully, at all times.
The easiest way is by walking our talk.
That not only should someone do as they say, but that we also must accept personal responsibility for keeping our words and actions in alignment. Balancing ourselves with clarity and truth in our statements and works.
Some may be more familiar with the form of the phrase “talk the talk, walk the walk”. Still it is defined as a person should support what they say, not just with words, but also through action.
I know these witticisms are not new, but they have become part of our collective consciousness, traditional recitations, folkloric if you will, because they have stood the test of time. They transcend generations, cultures and even centuries. Some of them have been shared in English for hundreds of years.
Plus the thought processes and importance behind these sayings goes back a whole lot further than recent memory as in Scripture we find a multitude of references including:
Matthew 5:16 (ESV) “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Titus 1:16 (ESV) “They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.”
Colossians 3:17 (ESV) “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
If you express your truth in both words and actions then there is less chance for misunderstandings.
Selecting your words carefully can lead you to great success, while not guarding your vocabulary can have the opposite effect; ensuring your failure.
Quite literally choosing the proper expression can change your life or keep you in the wilderness for another 40 years. Words elicit not only an intellectual component, by whether or not you and those you are communicating with share the same definition, they also often first evoke an emotional response. Whether that’s positive or negative is up to you.
While the late US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia affirmed:
“Words have meaning. And their meaning doesn’t change.”
However they certainly can change and do, if there is not a common definition.
Even then the word can be further enhanced or exacerbated by tone, volume or even in writing as to how they are expressed.
Let’s consider this word:
The same four letters. Pronounced in the same way and even in print you feel the difference. Therefore you can draw different meanings, memories and elicit varied responses to motivate, manage or manipulate others.
This is where we see so many problems being caused today.
There are two main groups that are excessively involved in these negative behaviors.
First, those who don’t do their research and share misinformation, facts that are simply not true, or in other words falsehoods or let’s call it what they truly are – lies.
Yes, if you simply click, share and forward things around cyberspace without knowing their authenticity, you are lying to other people and actively supporting those who seek to do so. It’s no less of a transgression because you didn’t know.
Just like ignorance of the law does not make you any less liable for your actions, you must take the responsibility to make sure you know what you are saying to others and whether or not your comments or shares add anything to an honest discussion.
The second group are those who are knowingly doing so and have devolved to a level of conspiring to distribute disinformation.
If you fall prey to their traps, again “I didn’t know”, does not get you off the hook, rather you are now actively involved in a conspiracy to lead people away from the truth or in many cases towards evil.
Not only do the Ten Commandments direct that, “thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour”, throughout the wisdom shared in the Book of Proverbs there are multiple lessons about the consequences for those who do not communicate honestly.
Some of these instructive examples include:
Proverbs 19:9, “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who speaks lies shall perish.”
Proverbs 12:22, “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight”.
Proverbs 12:19, as it is written, “Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment”.
Plus in Proverbs 6:16-19, take note that references to lying appear twice among the honest truth filled warning:
“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers”.
Pretty straightforward there and hopefully compelling reasons to help you find your way to the right side of the issue.
You may also, I hope, notice there are assurances of the rewards for being truthful and ethical.
To embrace honesty and living in accord with the concept is further proof to “Integrity Is Integral”.
In an earlier conversation I shared that integrity is a foundational aspect of our personalities. It is a deeply held belief that we should be and are adhering to a strict moral code.
This oath we voluntarily undertake includes being honest with both ourselves and others; living consistent with values that are above reproach and that we must choose to be incapable of being corrupted accepting that living by these standards in an uncommon manner increases not only our lives to new levels, but also the quality of life for all we encounter.
Without freely embracing integrity we are limiting our lives. It’s why far too many people experience simply existing rather than being rewarded with a fulfilling life.
In order to be living with integrity each of us needs to be living by aligning your conduct with excellence. Displaying a firm dedication to our values and beliefs. Never wavering in adhering to higher standards and pledging to always attempt to do the right thing regardless of circumstances.
Notice I did say attempt, because no one is perfect. We will slip, we will make mistakes, sometimes even fall flat on our face. However when that occurs, we must decide to take the actions involved in getting up and pushing on.
Making integrity an integral part of our essence we can not claim to be perfect. Honesty involves being quick to acknowledge and own our mistakes and faults. Our integrated sense of sincerity should come from a pure motivation to do what is right, always.
Aligning ourselves with virtue and integrity allows for peace of mind and a clear conscience by knowing you did the right thing regardless of the outcome.
The way you act is a reflection of your character and can either enhance or destroy your reputation. By declaring, and openly subscribing to the covenants of living a life with integrity it reveals to others that you have nothing to hide. Under scrutiny, your life would be accepted as being righteous.
By committing to live based on excellent principles, you provide an example for others to follow. You also have a basis for open communication with others because they trust you. Your relationships can prosper based on honesty and forthrightness.
You can make decisions much more easily because you have already determined to do what is excellent and therefore eliminated all the other alternatives. Acting with integrity gives you peace of mind in knowing you did the right thing regardless of the outcome.
Then what is the opposite of integrity?
Someone not living a life filled with integrity is the definition of being a hypocrite. Those are the “smiling faces sometimes, show no traces of the evil that lurks within”.
Those who pretend to be something they are not, or claim to believe something they do not . Their walk doesn’t jive with their talk, their words and actions do not align with their stated values and beliefs. Their substance may originate from a lie.
If you are realizing that you are hypocritical about something, stop and ask yourself what it is that you actually want to accomplish in that situation.
Do your desires align with your values and beliefs?
After that reflection you can then choose to live in integrity by clarifying your intentions, motivations and visions. Focus on evaluating your words and reviewing your actions to see what you must change. Then practice becoming the change you desire.
All of our lives have an intrinsic, inalienable God-given value.
We are designed to live a life of service. To use our talents, gifts and abilities to make life better for others.
Doing so freely, honestly and with kindness, shows that maybe we have something someone desperately needs.
Words are an extremely powerful force available for our use. Motivation also plays an important role as we can opt to select words of encouragement, growth and hope or despair, anger and hate.
Please embrace the old adage, “honesty is the best policy” and make it part of your daily efforts. You’ll be better for it. The world will be better for it and ultimately we’ll be able to realize some of the change we all say we want to see.
Think about it. Reflect upon it and maybe this can cause a breakthrough for you.
Then join us tomorrow, when we’ll continue our weekly series on TUrning Point Toosdays, and how they can be a catalyst for what you truly want to achieve. That’s our focus on the next edition of “Becoming Today”.