Dishonesty has a huge financial impact on our society. Ernst & Young, one of the country’s largest accounting firms, reports that dishonesty costs retailers $46 billion per year! The National Grocer’s Association found that the average grocery store lost $452,446 last year to employees, shoppers and vendors who were dishonest. We all have read about the accounting fraud and leadership scandals; however, many times, small businesses are actually the most vulnerable to occupational fraud and abuse.
Many times dishonesty in business does appear to produce a higher profit, but what are the costs? God makes it very clear in His word that dishonesty is wrong - always. Proverbs 20:17 says, “Bread obtained by falsehood is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel.” If a business owner’s motives are primarily materialistic, he or she will find it very difficult to make right choices when faced with the temptation of dishonesty. However, if a business owner’s primary goal is to work as to the Lord and to make honesty in all things a priority, the correct choices will be obvious.
A publication entitled, “The Ethics of American Youth” reported that 62 percent of high school students have cheated on exams, and 40 percent admitted to lying in order to save money. Unfortunately, we live in an age when many people believe that honesty is relative. However, God’s standards never change. He expects absolute honesty in all things. Proverbs 20:23 says God “loathes all cheating and dishonesty.” In fact, Jesus described himself as “the Truth.”
When you are faced with a decision, whether in your business or in your own personal finances, honesty really is the best policy, but more importantly, it is what pleases God. We all know what happened to Sapphira in the book of Acts when she was dishonest about her offering! God struck down her and her husband because they were deceitful about what they had given to God. Dishonesty may not cost you your life as it did them, but it certainly could cost you the good things of life – your peace, your joy, and your intimacy with the Father.
How can you display honesty in your finances?
Pay your tithe.
Pay your bills and your taxes on time.
If you have employees, pay them a fair wage.
Build or provide the best products or services in your business.
Be a godly leader to your employees and your family.
There are many choices you face on a daily basis that will bring you face to face with honesty vs. dishonesty. Let’s rise to the challenge; allowing our lives to be a reflection of all that God has called us to be! May the world see us in a different way – may we truly be the salt of the earth! When people see “Christian” attached to a business, a product, a family, or an individual, may it truly represent absolute honesty, without question!
Honesty really does pay. It will bring peace of mind in this life, and God’s reward in the next.
-Denise Craig, Chief Financial Officer
Reference: “Money Matters”, issue No. 327
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