When honest people become God-like

Photo illustration of Jesus. PHOTO | COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • FYI. What do you learn from Nathanael in the Bible, asks Msgr Wynand Katende.

“Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, ‘Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!’ Nathanael said to Him, ‘How do You know me?’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.’”- John 1:47-48.

St. Nathanael is one of the  12 original apostles. He is more famous for his integrity than for anything else. To act with integrity means bringing the inward person and the outward person into harmony. 

No hypocrisy

God knows everyone and what is in people`s minds and hearts (Jeremiah 20:12). Since Jesus can do that, it means He is God; the Son of God. Luke 9:47, directly states: “But Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, said, ‘Why are you thinking evil in your hearts?’” Nathanael encounter with a man who is able to search people’s hearts, led him to declare, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” (John 1:49). 

Jesus’ life was absolutely pure. Neither guile nor hypocrisy of any kind was found in Him. His sacrifice was wholehearted and bloodstained. Yet wherever He went He met guile and religious hypocrisy. They honoured God with their lips, but their hearts were far from Him. ‘Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy!’, He warned His disciples (Luke 12:1). Therefore we can understand why Jesus was so glad when He discovered Nathanael, a man of integrity.

To be without guile is to be free of deceit, cunning, hypocrisy, and dishonesty in thought or action. To beguile is to deceive or lead astray, as Lucifer beguiled Eve in the Garden of Eden. 

The quality of being without deception is sometimes called “integrity” or “trustworthiness”. It is the most God-like characteristic. The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity. Duplicitous is used to describe someone who intentionally misleads people, especially by saying different things to different people or acting in different ways at different times.

Strangely, people enjoy lies! Some studies show the average person lies about twice a day. Most lies are harmless and serve mainly to avoid uncomfortable moments, help people make a good impression, or make others feel good. But, some lies can have negative consequences; the person lied to may feel duped or the liar may be caught out. 

Politics is generally perceived as a dirty game, because honest politicians are rare. Politicians know that false information can influence people’s thinking even after they come to realise the information is false. They spin the truth to make themselves seem more capable and successful than they truly are, and appeal to whoever they are talking to at the time. They make promises they know they will not be able to keep. It is important to know that mutual trust between government and the public produces greater compliance and better outcomes for everyone. Lies poison this trust.


The condition for becoming Jesus’ disciple is to forsake everything; putting off all guile, hypocrisy and malice (1 Peter 2:1). They never act from hidden agenda. They are open and honest; their lives are in the light. They think, speak, and do good. If we could look into their hearts, we would discover far more good than can be seen. 

The gospel is true salvation from every kind of guile and hypocrisy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”, says Jesus in Matthew 5:8. However, keeping the heart pure is not an automatic process. If we open the heart to evil and impure thoughts, they will become evil and impure. But , through faith in Christ, it is possible to keep our hearts pure, without guile or hypocrisy.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10).