How can we feel forgiven and free of the chains of the Adversary if we are not completely honest with ourselves?¬† Blessings, Gar ‚ÄúHonesty implies freedom from lying, stealing, cheating, and bearing false witness.‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒ Marion G. Romney
What is Real Freedom?
A person is truly free who is honest with himself. It is an awful feeling to want forgiveness for a dishonest act and not be able to ask for that forgiveness. That feeling severely limits the amount of freedom you will feel from the affects of a guilty conscience and can hinder the confidence you will need to make future situations to be honest. The following is from an experience that Ardeth Kapp Ardeth G. Kapp, former Young Women General President, shared about honesty:
When she was a student at Brigham Young University, she accidentally left her wallet in a telephone booth. The wallet contained ten dollars, which was all the money she had at the time. She never found the wallet, but nine years later, she received a note from a woman who said she wanted to ‚Äúsettle some unfinished business at BYU.‚ÄĚ Sister Kapp called the woman and found out what had happened to the wallet.
‚ÄúI learned that this young woman, now a wife and mother, had been in nurses training at BYU. She had worked to put herself through school, but she needed an additional ten dollars for tuition, so she turned to her boyfriend for help. She had promised to return the loan by the following Friday. When Friday arrived, in spite of her earnest prayers, she was still short ten dollars.
‚ÄúSeemingly without reason, she had walked into the telephone booth and found an old worn wallet. She explained how her heart started to pound since she‚Äôd never been tempted like this before. She held her breath as she opened it to find a single ten-dollar bill. Then the question: Was this indeed an answer to her prayer?
‚ÄúShe interrupted her steady flow of words to explain that since then she had learned that Satan knows when we are being tested and when under pressure we might weaken. We can be sure, she explained, that he will be there if there is a chance we might fall.
‚ÄúAnd then picking up the story again, she told of paying her boyfriend, whom she later married, graduating in nursing, and now raising a beautiful family and rejoicing in the blessings of the gospel.
‚ÄúHer voice choked with emotion as she painfully related the details about the old wallet. She emphasized how she knew right from wrong and how she was well acquainted with the principle of honesty. Her conscience had prompted her, but she listened to the wrong voice and acted contrary to that which she knew was right. She explained how taking the money had seemed justified at the time and hardly seemed like a sin at all. For nine years, however, her faithful conscience had never been at peace in that particular matter. ‚Ä¶
‚ÄúFor nine years, through many moves, the old burden had lain deeply tucked away in her top dresser drawer. It seemed impossible for her to throw away the wallet, though she‚Äôd considered it many times. There is no way you can throw away a wrong, and yet, there was no way, as far as she knew, to return the wallet.
‚ÄúOne day while she was straightening the drawer, the old wallet surfaced again. This time she felt she must get rid of it, but only the right way. She had learned many valuable lessons over the years, and she had a quiet assurance that even this had served a purpose.
‚ÄúShe thoughtfully opened the old wallet once again, and while examining it her fingers uncovered a small, orange card tucked away in a tiny compartment not previously noticed. This orange card would prove to be the key to unloading her burden. The card gave the address of the Calgary Clinic in Alberta, Canada, where the medical exam for a student‚Äôs visa had been given. She became excited with the thought that this time she might clean her top drawer in every detail.
‚ÄúWith a prayer in her heart she took a chance and sent a letter ‚Äėto whom it may concern‚Äô to the Calgary Clinic to be forwarded if possible. The letter was forwarded first to my parents in Canada, and then back to Utah where it finally reached its intended destination. Contact had been made, but the wallet was yet to be returned. During the telephone conversation she indicated the wallet would be mailed that very day.‚ÄĚ
Sister Kapp asked the young woman to come to her office and deliver the wallet in person, which the young woman did.
‚ÄúAs though she had rehearsed this experience in her mind a hundred times, she reached out her steady hand, looked me squarely in the eye, and handed me the wallet. Her steady gaze reflected the radiance of a good and honest life.
‚ÄúThen her eyes dropped as she whispered, ‚ÄėWill you please forgive me? I want to be honest.‚Äô Words would not come. I could only reach for her hand and nod affirmatively. From my office, I watched her walk away from my desk and out the front door.
‚Äú‚ÄėBehold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.‚Äô (D&C 58:42.)
‚ÄúI went to the window to watch her with her shoulders square, head erect, and with a lilt in her step as she turned the corner out of sight. Returning to my desk I again heard her words, ‚ÄėWill you please forgive me? I want to be honest.‚Äô ‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúWill You Please Forgive Me? ¬†I Want to Be Honest.‚ÄĚ ¬†Ardeth G. Kapp, New Era, July 1976, pp. 7‚Äď9).