Honesty is the Best Policy
Honesty is the best policy. A popular phrase but what exactly does it mean? Before we examine honesty let us look at its opposite. Before we look at the Truth, Jesus Christ, let us understand our enemy, Satan, the Father of Lies (Jn. 8:44). It is no secret that almost all of the turmoil we are witnessing in our country and the world has the fingerprints of evil all over it. The bigger point for us to understand is this evil is fomented and amplified by acts of dishonesty. In other words, lies. Some are big lies, some are small lies, but like a shotgun blast or the atom bomb, they all produce dangerous moments of destruction. Evil always enters our lives through deception and lying.
Usually, the act of lying and dishonesty does not attack us from the outside. Instead, dishonesty begins interiorly. We self-deceive ourselves. This is a very dangerous game to play.
I asked my spiritual director one time, “Why do so many people avoid going to confession?” The man who has been hearing confessions for nearly 50 years responded very simply, “Most people have never been honest with themselves before … and they’re afraid.”
This was a very interesting perspective that I was not expecting. Honesty really is the best policy. We must continually take responsibility for our actions and reflect on them in a spirit of honesty. We cannot allow evil to enter our lives through lies and self-deception. If you have been a neglectful parent, be honest about it. If you have been a rebellious teenager and have been disrespectful towards your parents, be honest about it. If we have consistently, or occasionally, struggled with our use of alcohol, let us be honest about it. The confessional serves as an oasis of honesty, a place of peace where we accept the honest reality about ourselves as sinners who are still loved by our Heavenly Father.
Here is how St. John so beautifully describes it, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, the Lord is faithful and just, and will forgive ours sins.” (1 Jn. 1:9)
In a culture where lies are wreaking havoc, we can feel powerless to stop the destruction. In a human sense, we are powerless. However, the best way to combat the spread of deception and destruction is for us to be honest Christians. Honest people live in peace with God and one another. We must always strive to be honest before God. Besides, God is already fully aware of our lies and self-deception. He knows us better than we know ourselves. The important thing is for us to manifest our honesty before our God.
Here is how the Great King David described it, “Then I declared my sin to you; my guilt I did not hide. I said, “I confess my transgression to the Lord,” and you took away the guilt of my sin.” (Ps. 32:5)
To prepare for an honest confession, here is a very helpful Examination of Conscience.