This semester we are discussing intellectual character and its virtues. Intellectual character is the thought process behind every decision we make. We started with talking about courage. Intellectual courage helps you to find the truth and live out that truth. This week we continue our look at intellectual virtues with intellectual honesty.
Intellectual honesty is how we use the truth we know. It is the link that goes from our thinking to our actions. Last week I spoke on what intellectual honesty is and what it is not. I cautioned about lying, stealing, cheating, and doing anything to win or doing anything to get on top. This week I want to explain why we are to be honest in every situation and circumstance. Sometimes we may think we have to lie to prove our point, exaggerate to win an argument, or cheat to win a game. But we don’t have to! We just have to be truthful and live in that truth.
What if we stand for truth and stand for what’s right and people are mad at us or arguing with us? What if others say we can lie here, or cheat there, and that we should win at all cost, whether we deserve to win or not?
Sometimes you might think it would be easier to lie, cheat, or steal than it is to just stand firm in truth. But, I say, “No! No! No!” It is never a good idea to lie, cheat or steal.
In Luke 21:15 Jesus says,
“For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.”
Jesus himself says we should stand up with honesty and courage and that He will give us the truth that will be wise and that cannot be faulted! We don’t have to lie to get our way or cheat to win. If we stand in truth, we already have won! If we stand for what is right, if we seek truth and wisdom, and do our very best, we will be taken care of in the classroom, in the game, and with our needs.
Do you see these pennies? I am going to tell you a story about pennies. It is the legend of an honest man. As a young man working at a store, he noticed at the end of the day that he had extra pennies. It was very important to him to find out who he took too much money from. So, he closed the store and walked a mile or so in order to return those few cents. Not only did he return money that was not his, he started to be asked to judge others with arguments because both sides trusted him to have intellectual honesty. He became a lawyer and is quoted as saying he, “resolved to be honest in all events.” He was later elected to government positions because of his intellectual honesty. And finally was elected to be president of the United States!
Abraham Lincoln could have kept those few cents. It would have been easier to say, “Well, too bad I made a mistake, but I will keep these pennies.” But because he was honest in the small things, he was able to be intellectually honest to a grand scale. And now if you see a penny, you will notice Abraham Lincoln is on it!
Every time you see a penny you should remember that the face on it was so honest he would not take one penny that belonged to someone else! As you think about honesty, please remember:
God will help you be honest and He will be able to guide you to truth.
God will give you the strength to be honest and truthful in all things.
If God can give President Abraham Lincoln the words and wisdom to do all he did, God can give you the words and wisdom to do great things in your life as well—to live an intellectually honest and courageous life with Him!