One writer observed of modern society, "A commentary on the times is that the word honesty is now preceded by old-fashioned." Over the past few years, we have all seen diminished respect for the virtue of telling the truth in various quarters. The adjudicated finding of guilt on perjury charges brought against our last president was surely a disgraceful evidence of the pervasive presence of dishonesty in our modern world. The widespread use of falsehood is not consistent with the values and character expected in the world of my upbringing. My earliest remembrance of character education is the teaching to always be honest. Whether at home or in school, in Bible classes or in the community, honesty was a mandatory virtue in each person and it was commonly accepted that lying was the worst thing one could do. While still a teenager, I came in contact with several people who made a practice out of falsehood and deceit. Since that time, I have witnessed the same proclivity in those who sought power for themselves in various realms. Is it merely being "old-fashioned" to seek a return to a world where honesty is again viewed with the highest respect?
Our Example of "Old-Fashioned" Honesty
In John 8, there is a clear contrast presented between Jesus who told the truth and the leaders of the Jews who lied. At one point, the leaders of the Jews claimed, "We are Abraham’s seed, and have never yet been in bondage to any man" (John 8:33). The fact is that Abraham’s seed, the Israelites, had been in both Egyptian bondage and Babylonian captivity. The Jewish leaders’ lying attempt to bolster their own importance was at variance with the truth. This was not the first time they had lied, nor would it be their last. They had lied about their respect for Jesus while trying to harm him. They would ultimately get men to testify falsely against Jesus to give a false veneer of justice to cover their murderous act. When Jesus arose from the dead, the same people would conspire to lie in a vain effort to conceal His resurrection. Jesus well summarized their character by noting their moral parentage: