If you were to list the top three virtues you want your friend, spouse, or co-workers to possess, would honesty be included? This would be a fascinating poll to give, as I would imagine everyone wants an honest friend, spouse, co-worker, boss, etc. Yet, it is ironic that white lies seem to be whittling away at the fabric of society.
For St. Thomas Aquinas, honesty relates to temperance, as it regulates who the person is at the core of their being. The honest person can maintain equilibrium and cannot be swayed by the turbulence of life or the actions of others. They are free to express their perspectives and don’t see or need the approval of others. In their presence, you experience an inner calm because their actions are not a voice of manipulation, unspoken expectations, or the need to be who they are not.
Honesty matures over a lifetime as one is faithful to small matters and seeks to use right reason in making decisions and taking action. Indeed, wouldn’t our lives be more peaceful if we all had an honest friend, or better yet, we sought to be honest ourselves in all we say and do?