Two college boys foolishly spent the week before their final Physics exam drinking and partying at their off-campus apartment. They didn’t sober up until the morning of the exam, and that’s when it dawned on them how much trouble they were in for not studying. So they cooked up a lie to tell their professor. They would miss the exam completely, show up two hours later as he was in the middle of another class, tell him they’d been delayed by a flat tire on the way to the exam, and ask if they could take the test sometime the next day.
The professor listened to their story and agreed to let them take the test the next morning at 8:00 a.m. sharp. Pleased with themselves for having gotten away with their deception, the boys raced back to their apartment and began cramming for the exam. By dawn of the next morning they were ready.
When the boys arrived at the professor’s classroom, he kept one of them in the classroom and sent the other one to the room next door. As each boy sat down in his assigned seat, he opened the test pamphlet and was surprised to find that the test consisted of only two questions. Question #1 read: “For 5 points, what are the contents of an atom?” Each boy was amused at the simplicity of the question and smugly wrote down: “proton, neutron, and electron.” Then came question #2: “For 95 points, which one of your car’s four tires went flat yesterday?”
A similar story comes from the world of a big-city butcher. A woman came into his shop and asked to buy a chicken. The butcher promptly went to the back and located the chicken he knew was the only one he had left. He brought it out to the counter, placed it onto the scales, and said to the lady, “The weight is five pounds.” The woman thought for a moment and responded, “I want a bigger one.”
The butcher, not wanting to lose a sale, removed the chicken from the scales and said to the woman, “Give me a second while I go in the back and get a bigger one.” Then he took the chicken into the back, waited a little while, and brought it back to the counter. He again placed it onto the scales and this time subtly forced his thumb down onto the scale enough to make the weight total up to seven pounds.” He looked at the woman and said, “This one is seven pounds. Is that big enough?” She said, “Yes. As a matter of fact, I’ll just take both.”
There are many Bible verses that speak to the issue of honesty. The book of Proverbs, in particular, provides numerous ones. Here are a two (both from the N.K.J.V.) that specifically pertain to the two stories you just read:
- Proverbs 12:22: Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, But those who deal truthfully are His delight.
- Proverbs 11:1: Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, But a just weight is His delight.
Isn’t it interesting that each of these verses uses the word “abomination”? Lying and dishonest scales are both abominations to the Lord. We might think of lying as applying to our conduct in personal matters, and we might think of dishonest scales as applying to our conduct in business matters. God keeps a close eye on us in both realms, and we should conduct ourselves accordingly.