I HAD been brought up in a home that taught ``Honesty is the best policy, so it was rather shocking to find, after leaving home, that not everyone practiced this rule.
At first I felt I was pretty naive in being honest all the time. But the foundation for my honesty was my understanding of God as Truth. And through prayer I began to see that the desire to think and act consistently with Truth is natural to the children of God (which we all are). I could see that the offspring of Truth, of God, has to be truthful, honest, for like produces like. This was a strong, spiritual basis from which to eliminate any temptation to go along with ``little white lies.
Even though I was no longer tempted to lie myself, I still worried that I could be hurt by others' lies. A verse from Proverbs, ``In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths," proved invaluable in helping me see that all my endeavors are protected by God.
More recently, since I took on the challenging job of managing an open-air farmers' market, I've had additional opportunities to broaden and deepen my concept and expression of honesty. Christ Jesus showed us that man's true nature is spiritual, and we demonstrate this as we live our innate spiritual qualities of honesty, integrity, and faithfulness to good, God. The market I oversee is very large, and before I took the job, the rules had not been strictly enforced. So right away I had to deal with those
who wanted me to bend the rules. Allowing unqualified sellers would not only have voided the market's eligibility for a government program that helped many women and children; it would also have hurt the farmers.
The Bible again provided me with direction. One of the Ten Commandments, in Exodus, says very simply ``Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour." My attitude had to progress from ``I'm honest and a lie can't hurt me to recognizing gratefully the allness of God, Truth. I strove to see my neighbor-- the vendors, in this case--as God's honest child. As I did this, my questioning became more loving, and I found it easier to expect the replies to be absolutely honest. Very quickly the rules wer e respected, and some people even thanked me for not letting them sell there!
The few times that someone was persistent about not following the rules, I strove to express the humility that freed me from being offended or defensive. And I prayed to understand more clearly that lies have no part in God's creation. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, reminds us in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures of the Bible's assertion ``God is `of purer eyes than to behold evil.' And she goes on to point out, ``We sustain Truth, not by accepting, but by r ejecting a lie." My prayer enabled me to reject the underlying lie that there is a creator other than God, Truth, or that man can be governed by pride or selfishness. The incidents soon ended.
Because a lie has no foundation, it betrays itself and falls. But it's important to remember that it is the lie that falls, not a person. For example, one individual was insistent on selling although he did not comply with the rules. After I had explained the rules, he attempted to argue. But the more he talked, the less sense his reasoning made. I made a firm, final request for him to leave the area, and he finally did. In later weeks, however, he returned, and not only was he able to meet all requireme nts but he also went out of his way to help the market as a whole.
We have been given the command not to ``bear false witness" along with the ability to obey it. We need the truth if we are to witness truthfully, and the simple truth is that God is the only creator and man as His spiritual creation is honest