|The American culture of the late 20th and early 21st Centuries seems
to have come to accept a concept that telling a lie in some circumstances
is acceptable. A recent statistic from a major news network said that 93
percent of all Americans say they would lie in certain situations and over
70 percent would cheat on a college examination.
My father was not always 100 percent hnest himself, but he did teach
me and repeated so often that I grew up firmly believing that the most
valuable asset you can have is a reputation for always telling the truth
no matter what the consequences to you personally. The longer I live, the
more I see how right he was.
But then, after all, apparently the Psalmist David also learned that
same lesson at some time in his life. We see him saying in the fifteenth
Psalm, "He that sweareth to his own
hurt, and changeth not." Or as a more literal translation puts it, "who
keeps his word even when it hurts." The whole context of that passage reads,
"He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour,
nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. In whose eyes a vile person
is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth
to his own hurt, and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to
usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things
shall never be moved. (Psalm 15:3-5).
In the Ten Commandments, we read,
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. (Exodus 20:16
In context: Exodus 20:15-17)
shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour.
that beareth false witness against his neighbour is a maul, and a sword,
and a sharp arrow. ( Proverbs 25:18).
And the following scriptures in
the New Testament also command not to bear false witness or lie.
(Matthew 19:18, Mark 10:19,
Luke 18:20, Romans 13:9).
The real truth is that the most valuable asset you can have is a reputation
for always telling the truth no matter what the consequences to you personally.
There have been numerous university and High School cheating scandals
in recent years and often the students see nothing wrong in cheating. But
if you are depending on the diploma on the wall, as important as it is,
it is no substitute for the knowledge in your own head. Your own diploma
can be easily destroyed in any number of accidental ways or an angry spouse,
especially if you have built a reputation with them of being untrustworthy,
may intentionally destroy it. A thief can steal it and attempt to use it
as his own professional identiy. The university who issued your degree
could lose your record, especially after several years have passed. But
if you are depending on what you know and therefore can do, your obvious
knowledge and ability will make way for you even if you don't have a diploma
to show at all.
And in this context, there will
be many times in your life when your actual knowledge will be more important
than a diploma because
on Page 2)