570 How to Practice to Be an Honest Person

1 If you wish for others to trust you, first you must be honest. As an honest person, you must first lay your heart bare so that everyone can look into it, see all that you are thinking, and glimpse your true face; you must not try to disguise or package yourself to look good. Only then will people trust you and consider you honest. This is the most fundamental practice, and the prerequisite, of being an honest person. You are always pretending, always feigning holiness, virtuousness, greatness, and feigning high moral qualities. You do not let people see your corruption and your failings. You present a false image to people so that they believe you are upstanding, great, self-sacrificing, impartial, and selfless. This is deceitfulness.

2 Do not put on a disguise, and do not package yourself; instead, lay yourself and your heart bare for others to see. If you can lay your heart bare for others to see, and lay bare all your thoughts and plans—both positive and negative—then you are being honest. If you can lay yourself bare for others to see, then God, too, will see you and say that you are surely honest before Him, too. If you only lay yourself bare to God when out of view of other people, and always pretend to be great and virtuous or just and selfless when in their company, then God will say, “You are genuinely deceitful; you are purely hypocritical and petty; and you are not an honest person.” God will condemn you thusly. If you wish to be an honest person, then regardless of what you do before God or others, you should be able to open yourself up and lay yourself bare.

Adapted from “The Most Fundamental Practice of Being an Honest Person” in Records of Christ’s Talks

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