Honesty is a great virtue, the importance of which cannot be overrated in the affairs of life. Apart from its value in business, it has a great moral value as well. It is said that honesty is the best policy, and it is perfectly true. But let it be borne in mind that we should be honest, not as a matter of policy because it will be advantageous to us, but as a matter of duty. Honesty may pay us, as it certainly does benefit a shopkeeper whose credit it enhances, but we should be honest, without caring for any material gain. Even at the risk of losing, we should be honest and truthful.
We should be honest with others. so that they may depend upon us, and believe us. A dishonest man will never be believed and will lose the confidence of his friends. Dishonesty may bring some trivial gain or temporary success, but the ultimate loss will far outweigh all the petty advantages. Not only this, but the moral loss and the pangs of conscience at having cheated our fellow-men will embitter our lives forever. One act of dishonesty will lead to another, until dishonesty will become a habit with us.
An honest man holds his head high, and looks the world in the face. He is not afraid of anybody. “He whose accounts are fair and square, what fear has he of the accountant?” says Sheikh Sa’adi.
In business, honesty is of the utmost importance. An honest merchant succeeds rapidly and rises to fortune, while a dishonest one is shunned by customers. It is said that a certain person deposited a large amount of money with a banker. Years passed away. One day, the deposit suddenly made his appearance before the banker, and demanded his money back. The banker could easily have refused and kept all the money himself. There was no bond or receipt, and the depositor could not legally recover his money but the banker was honest. He returned every penny that he had. Apart from the advantages which he reaped from this honest act which made him famous as an honest man and brought him a large amount of business, he enjoyed great peace of mind and conscience at having done an honest act. This peace of mind is of far higher value than any earthly advantage, and this an honest performance of duty alone can give.