Please Be Honest

by Douglas Hoff


Three weeks ago we were camping in Tahquamenon Falls State Park in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  One of the pleasures of camping is the evening fire.  While we were driving in town for supplies we stopped at a person’s house where they were selling wood.  There were bundles of kindling and larger pieces of hardwood with the prices clearly marked but at first no one was in sight.  As I looked around for someone to pay, I noticed a large metal can with a handwritten sign next to it which simply said “Please be honest.”  Just about then a woman drove up on a garden tractor.  She was busy working and said I could just drop the money into the can and take the wood.

I had heard things are different in the U. P. and that folks are more trusting.  I suspect this is because of the smaller population in the area with the result that “everybody knows everybody” and people know what happens in their town.  While these “Yoopers” may be willing to trust others, the sign by the can also recognizes a basic truth about human interactions.  That is, some people are not trustworthy.  The little sign however reveals a basically positive outlook on humanity.  This businesswoman believes most will be honest and others can be encouraged to overcome the temptation to steal by an appeal to the conscience.

What else does this handwritten sign teach us?  If you think about it, there are several things implied in these three short words:


“Please Be Honest…With Me”


Businesses depend upon customers paying for goods and services. Honesty in dealing with others pleases God and is good for the economy (Leviticus 19:36; Proverbs 11:1).  Trying to short change others in a deal has always been an abomination to the LORD (Hosea 12:7; Amos 8:5).  The same is also true of stealing.  No one would want to have his things stolen.  Applying the “Golden Rule” found in Matthew 7:12 means we would not steal from others or try to defraud them.  Jesus also stated it this way: “And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise” (Luke 6:31; NKJV).  Notice the “Golden Rule” is much more than what we don’t do.  It actually involves the doing of something positive toward another.  Treating others with respect is part of the law of Christ (Romans 8:2; Galatians 6:2).  The firewood sign kindly entreated customers by making the first word “Please.”


“Please Be Honest…With Yourself’


Being honest with others requires that a person be honest with himself. Sadly, some deceive themselves into thinking they are other than what reality reveals (Galatians 6:3; James 1:26).  Such people fool themselves but not God (1 John 1:8).  The Creator knows every thought and action (Proverbs 15:3; John 2:25; Hebrews 4:13).  To be honest with ourselves may be painful at times because we may not like what we see.  However, that can and should motivate us to take the necessary corrective actions.  God’s word is like a mirror into the soul (James 1:22-25).  The honest man will be a doer of God’s will and be blessed as a result. Not so with the dishonest of heart.


“Please Be Honest…With God and His Word”


It has been said, “Honesty is the best policy.”  Unfortunately, many worldly people have concluded that honesty is only for suckers and fools.  Why should anyone be honest?  Because one day God will render to each man according to his deeds whether they have been good or bad (Acts 17:31; 2 Corinthians 5:10).  Some try to deny this awesome truth but it is only because they do not love God and His word (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12).  Honesty in all its applications is not only the best policy; it should be the Christian’s only policy!


Douglas Hoff, preacher

Flat Rock Church of Christ

(734) 782-2886 [

P.O. Box 12

Flat Rock, Ml 48134-0012


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