Proctor's wife and children were left so that a name would not be tarnished. Proctor wanted his children to have a father and a name they could be proud of. He didn't want his unborn child to be shunned even before it was born.
In 1692 honor in God's eyes was extremely important. Proctor was not going to sign a paper that said he had made a deal with the devil; because that in it's self maybe seen as making a deal with the devil to keep him from death. He had made good with God and nothing would change his decision.
Proctor decided to keep his honor in the community by refusing to tell lies. He rejected the offer, and he would not say that any of his neighbors or friends had dealt with the devil.
Proctor's actions were selfish because he had to keep his honor and didn't necessarily think about the repercussions to his family.
Proctor's children didn't have a father because he didn't sign a piece of paper. Proctor's name may have been cleared in later years. He could have changed it all if he would have handed over the paper.
The minister was encouraging him to lie. John Hale a righteous minister is saying that lies to stay on this earth will still sit on God's favor. Why couldn't Proctor lie?
If Proctor had confessed then he would have been a role model for the others. They would have to have faith that in the near future their names would be cleared. All of the good doings of Rebecca Nurse could have continued to benefit the community.
Whether or not what John Proctor did was right he did it for honor a word almost obsolete in today's society.