The Burning of Honesty

“If you are of the truth, if you have learned the truth, if you see the sanctity of the truth, then speak truth. We are not called to be deceivers or liars. God is a God of truth, and His people are called to have an enormously high standard of truth.” – R.C. Sproul

It was a plague.
It was a stain that Christians have tried to bury the in textbooks of church history.
It was a time of darkness, terror, and injustice.

It was the reign of the stake.

When people spoke their mind against the church or Christian leaders, their words turned to ash littering the ground and smoke fuming in the breeze.

It is sad to think about how many were burned at the stake for honest opinion and opening up their mouths to speak truth.

Unfortunately, if we do not learn from injustices of history, we are doomed to repeat it.

That is what is happening today…

the unspoken headlines

How many of us know a person, strong in the Lord and growing, but, in a flash, disappeared? how many of us know someone who used to be outspoken and saw passion over a concern grow quiet hidden in a side pew? How many of us prayed for an individual in our small group and shed a tear with their openness; only to to recognize their absence?

These are the unspoken headlines of the church.

But what do we mean by this? Headlines speak about news important for us to know. For our churches, it tends to be events and announcements. But, there are unspoken headlines usually disguised as prayer requests and updates on a person’s life… all out of “loving concern” of course.

However, there is a pattern in churches that the people we speak about have in common.


They were either honest about a struggle in their life, honest about a situation, or honest about a concern.

And where did that leave them?



But, was their honesty real honesty? Was what they did right?

Let’s look at what the Bible says about honesty, truth, and walking in honesty.

Proverbs 11:3 tells us that honesty is to guide us. It is to be a compass on our journey. Dishonesty will destroy people. It will only lead to their destruction.

Paul writes to us in Philippians 4:8 to honor what is honest. We are urged to meditate on things that are honest. It is in honesty we see beauty, and we keep our mind focused on Jesus.

According to the Bible, honesty is a virtue help up high. God delights in honesty. He abhors those who lie.

We are even commanded in Colossians 3:9 to strip off lying since it does not have any place in our new life in Christ.

It is in the realm of honesty do we find freedom. Jesus told us that the truth will set us free (John 8:32).

Therefore, the guideposts of honest are:
1. Let honesty guide you
2. Think, meditate, and find beauty in honesty
3. Do not lie to each other
4. The truth will always set us free

Four simple guideposts, but what has happened?

Dismantling guideposts

We, as Christians, dismantle these guideposts.

What are things we value in churches today? Do we value honesty?

Honestly, answer that.

That fact is, we only like honesty if it is to our own betterment. We love when honesty makes us the winner of a situation. We love when honesty paints us as the hero. We love when honesty creates comfort and ease in our life.

However, when honesty makes us examine our life, takes away our picture-perfect image, or creates an uncomfortable air we get rid of it.

We would rather burn honesty at the stake of our image, than allow honesty to be our guide.

James 1:8 warns us that when we are double-minded, we are unstable in all our ways.

How do we do this in regards to honesty?

We praise the value of honesty, but we shut down people with honest concerns.
We lift up the freedom of truth, but we ostracize people who become truthful with us.
We lift a hearty “Amen” to sermons regaling us about being honest with God, but we would rather shut people down when they open up about struggles, hurts, and doubts.

No wonder the church is not seen in good light by many. They see the double-mindedness of the church. They see the church leader saying one thing, and yet does another. They see the values of the church helping one person, but excluding another.

We dismantle God’s guideposts in favor of the ones which promote us.


The time of burning people at the stake was horrendous. The smoke-filled screams billowed out as accusers yelled out for their repentance. Speaking out in honesty, victims found their words scattered like ash in the wind.

Yet, the scent of ash still whiffs into our nose today. We say we honor one thing, but act the opposite.

Honesty, a value honored by God on high, sacrificed on our low altar of self-image and self-preservation.

We plead for people to open up and be honest, but they have seen how we treated others who have. They are deceived to the stake, and they mistake our dancing for their destruction as praise and worship.

How can we truly love each other when honesty isn’t a value unifying us together?

When honesty is misused to weed out those we do not want among us, then we have abused the grace of God.

Author: Stephen Field

Living with a disability while pursuing the truth of God's Word and proclaiming it. I have a BA in Youth Ministry (minor in French), a MA in Cross-Cultural Studies (Ministry Studies). I have worked as an interim youth pastor, substitute taught in public schools, speech instructor, book retail worker, and restaurant host. My passion is to see Christians be able to use their Bible and interact with the world around them based on the foundation of God's Truth.

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