……..provide things honest in the sight of all men. Romans 12:17

Three years ago during national service,Baaba and I decided to apply for scholarships to further our education to spare our parents the extra hustle. We plunged ourselves into writing one application after the other, countless personal statements and essays. It wasn’t a walk in the park but determined we were.

One afternoon, lost in a vortex of desk formalities it took Baaba’s dropping by my office to draw my attention to our lunch break. When she came in, my personal statement was on the screen of my laptop, so she sat down to read through while waiting for me to wrap up.

“Sarah, this is really good,” she commented after reading. I was quite sure she had an equally great one so I acted all modest about her comment. She told me, her first draft was bad – per her dad and office mate – so she had written a new one – approved by same party – and would like me to read through and share my thoughts. “Of course” I promptly replied.

After eating I went ahead to skim through her new draft. Honestly, I didn’t think the write up was very good. It was okay, but nothing I would use. But I didn’t know how to tell her considering this was her second and better draft. So not to hurt her feelings, I said “it’s good” with a straight face. I justified my comment by itemising our diverse styles of writing and trying to save her some hurt by a negative response.

Baaba went home and called me later the next day and her opening statement was “eih Sarah, you told me the personal statement was good when it wasn’t”. “Errrmmm , it wasn’t bad” was all I could manage. Turns out she mistakenly opened the old draft for me and realized it later in the night when she was shutting down her machine.

Awkward! And to think that I was the one who always went on and on about how I would rather my friends told me the plain truth than give me a sugarcoated cocktail far from the truth when I asked their opinions about something.

I felt really terrible. I thought through the events and realised Baaba would have preferred the blunt truth to my forced “it’s good”. I realised how close-knit honesty and integrity were and how very vital they were to relationships. I wondered if Baaba would trust me to give my honest opinion about anything again.

Well, from then on, I promised myself to be honest no matter the price. So the next time someone ask you if they look fat in their clothes, you may want to reconsider telling that “white lie”. Because friends will much prefer the bitter pills of truth to a sweet deceptive kiss; I know I do.

Honesty is indeed the best policy!


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