Saturday, April 13, 2019

Honesty at a Price - Martin Wiles

For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man. 2 Corinthians 8:21 NIV

“You gave me a 100 on my report card, but I didn’t make that.”

I sat behind my desk preparing for the day when a six-grade boy walked in and informed me of my error. We were using an updated version of the grading program we’d been using for a number of years, but it contained some bugs. One of which was a tendency to save parts of a grade but not the entire grade. A few students had already approached me about lower grades but none had reported a higher grade. This young man did.

I asked him for an explanation. On one of his test grades, I had entered 976 when it should have been 97. As a result, he received a 100 on his report card. Now, he wanted to report the error. After changing the grade and recalculating, I watched his average plummet from 100 to 84, a letter grade lower.

I wanted to reward his honesty by letting him keep the 100, but I knew I couldn’t. I’d think of another way. In the meantime, I thanked him for his honesty and told him it showed great quality in him.

Paul made a commitment to do what was right also—but what was right in God’s eyes, not necessarily men’s. They may not be the same.

Honesty reflects character. I’ve never taught this young man before, but his honesty told me a great deal about him and his family. I have greater respect for him. And it certainly reflects character when you have nothing to gain from being honest but the mere satisfaction of knowing you were. And he didn’t. In fact, he had a lot to lose.

Honesty takes courage. It did for this young man. First, he had to tell me, his teacher, that I had made a mistake. Second, he had to do it knowing my correction would drop his grade.

God rewards honesty whether or not it’s rewarded by anyone else. And often it’s not. I’ll reward this young man in some other way, but the important thing is he wasn’t seeking a reward.

Pain often accompanies honesty. It did for my student. Instead of an A, he would receive a B. He willed to take the hit, though.

Regardless of the consequences, make up your mind to let honesty be your life policy.

Prayer: Father, prompt us to be honest in all of our dealings. 

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