Honesty is something we expect in others when we are young. Quickly we learn that friends on the playground may actually not like us at all. We look down at our skinny tennis shoes and realize that the world is not fair. It is an epic moment in our consciousness of life. Suddenly, we notice that there are deep tones of gray, up to, black. People look sinister to us. What’s wrong with my fat uncle? Things you would never dare to think were in your daydreams while staring out the window in your 9th grade social studies class. But just when you thought you might have changed for the worse, someone, anyone, appears to prove you all wrong. The neighbor who never talked with anyone suddenly stops by your lemonade stand and buys two cups.

Now, I just realized that the portrait of youth that I brought to you is very idealized……”did my childhood look like that?”

Anyway, the important thing is that we are constantly trying to weigh the consequences of being honest or not. We start by asking ourselves, “Why is being honest even important?” Then a deluge of emotional images floods the screen, you hold your breath, and you experience a death-defying silence in your consciousness.

If you hold your breath for two seconds, your inner being will bubble up the profound truth imbedded in every human DNA; honesty is the bedrock of civilization.

There is a very proven route to becoming dishonest. It starts with denying facts; moves to conspiracy theories; dances gleefully towards blurring the line between truth and falsehood. At the end of this road, you don’t know what is true or false and lack the capacity to keep up with the overwhelming flood of misinformation.

It is the responsibility of every human being, who has the resources and capacity, to resist dishonesty in all its forms. But you say, “Wait a minute. Who do you think you are espousing honesty when you know you have lied many times to many people. Sometimes for illicit gains or profiting from someone else’s poverty”. The truth is, I have no answer to those accusations except to thank the person who said them and object that they are way too lenient considering my deficiencies.

Love overcomes hate and honesty will repel dishonesty. These are the basic building blocks of our modern morality. With every act that good people do, they are cleansing the petty environment that lashes out at others without cause. We must remember this even more than religion. Because this is the glue that holds together societies, big and small. Once the water of lies sink sinto the cracks of our foundation, it expands with flagrant rhetoric and bursts upon peaceful people with violence and rage.

We must demand honesty within ourselves and between our relations with others. We must treat each other with respect by being honest even in the face of public ridicule or worse. If we can accomplish these simple tasks daily, we have a chance to cleanse our rotten social air with God’s breath and peace, stability, and forthright vigor in the halls of power.