Friday, November 11, 2011

Are You a Person Of Integrity?

Let no pleasure tempt thee, no profit allure thee, no persuasion move thee, to do anything which thou knowest to be evil; so shalt thou always live jollity; for a good conscience is a continual Christmas.
-Benjamin Franklin

 Definition of INTEGRITY

1. firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : incorruptibility; honesty.

The air is buzzing with the news of the awful Penn State Scandal this week.  People are disgusted and angry and rightfully so.  People are especially angry with Joe Paterno because he knew exactly what Jerry Sandusky was doing and yet he chose not to report it.  He turned a blind eye to evil and as a result innocent children paid the ultimate price. 

I am grieving for the victims, for the innocence that they were robbed of and the years of pain that their silence must have caused them.  On the other hand , I am thankful that the truth has finally broken through the darkness of secrecy and lies.  I love when truth prevails!

I think it was about the time that I watched the movie Courageous (which is absolutely FANTASTIC!) that the Lord began strongly convicting me of what it means to be a person of integrity.  There is a scene in that movie where a man desperately needing work to provide for his family is put in a questionable situation.  He is told that he will be given the management job that he so desperately needs but, only if he turns a blind eye to a shipment that the company will receive each month and he is told that he cannot record the shipment in the company books.  SO many people wouldn't bat an eye at that request and would have accepted the job and the terms given without any remorse.  They would justify their decision with a list of excuses: I've got bills to pay, mouths to feed and all they are asking me to do is tell a tiny little white lie.  It's no big deal.  Plus, I may not be able to find another job for a long time.  I felt this character's pain as he of all people had every "right" to lie.  He didn't even have enough money to buy a meal for his family let alone to pay his bills and yet he chose to do what so few of us would.  He said no and in doing so he sacrificed his needs and his pride for the sake of his conviction to be a man of integrity.   It was a powerful scene in the movie, to say the least.  (there is more to this story but, you will just have to watch the movie to find out...:)
I believe that on a nearly daily basis we are faced with opportunities to be people of integrity.  Do you tell a friend you are sick when you don't want to hang out?  Do you toss your neighbor's mail in the trash when you continue to get it in your box day after day? Do you report honestly on your taxes?  Do you copy a friend's test or lift your essay offline?  Do you share a secret that you were entrusted with?  Do you tell your boss the truth when you are late or fail to show up for work?  Do you think about the extra work you create for other people when you are too lazy to pick up after yourself or to put an item in the store back where it goes?  Do you take an item back to the store if you notice you weren't charged for it or perhaps were way undercharged?  Perhaps we should kick this up a notch.  Do you make sure a friend doesn't drive home drunk even when they insist that they are okay?  Do you report a loved one such as a brother or sister for stealing, cheating, abuse?  Do you turn in your best friend in the whole world to the authorities for selling illegal substances (Courageous movie reference) or for abusing their child? Better yet, do you submit yourself to proper punishment or at least recognize when you are the person who has been dishonest and without integrity?   

I believe that being a person of integrity is not easy and is seldom popular.  Why do you think Government, lawn enforcement and all facets of society so often become corrupt?  They become corrupt because too many people choose to turn a blind eye and too many people compromise.  Perhaps they mean well and are simply trying to protect the reputation of a beloved friend or family member.  Perhaps they are scared of becoming hated/unpopular or even physically injured for doing the right thing.  Perhaps they simply want to avoid conflict.  Perhaps they just don't care at all.  I believe that doing the right thing does not always prosper you here on Earth but, I know that you will reap a tenfold blessing in Heaven because God highly values integrity.

Do you consider yourself to be an honest person and a person of intergrity or would you be the first to admit that your sky high stack of little white lies and compromises in fact might make you a dishonest person?  I think we have a tendency to classify ourselves and thus find a way to excuse our own lack of integrity.  "I am no Joe Paterno by jove.  I would NEVER let anyone get away with the what he did even if it was a beloved relative or friend.  He can rot in Hell for all I care.  I'm more like Shirley Temple.  I'm cute and innocent and occasionally if necessary I might weasel my way out of things to make life easier for myself but it's all perfectly harmless and there will be a fine seat of gold waiting for me in Heaven."  Hardee har har.  The reality is that we all have to accept responsibility for our own actions even down to the smallest white lie and the simplest choices we make that lack integrity, because the fact is that none of us are really as good as we like to think that we are.


I deeply admire people of integrity.  They are rare these days.  I admire people who sacrifice their reputation for the sake of doing what is right.  I admire people who truly understand that bringing glory to God and being faithful to Him is far more valuable than getting ahead here on Earth.  I want to be more like them.  That is my heart's desire.  I want truth to prevail.  If we all reflected on this more perhaps the world might look a little different than it does today.  What do you think?  



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5 comments:

  1. I wish more people had integrity these days! Thanks for sharing this post. Everyone needs to read for sure!

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  2. For years, I have considered myself a person of integrity. However, when I entered the working world my eyes were opened to a new reality and a new conviction that I preached integrity, but I was willing to bend the rules.

    It is easy to set standards and say you will follow them, but the response when put to the test is much more of a testimony. I pray to be more like the man in Courageous.

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  3. Yes, and integrity pays off! I find that I end up teaching on this sort of thing to young people (college age) a lot... and because I teach it, I have to walk it out! Even though it's not always the quick or easy solution, I've never, ever regretted a situation where I've handled a problem, opportunity, or relationship with integrity.
    p.s. Looking forward to checking out that movie now too. Thanks. :)

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  4. Well said, Casey!! I have a friend who seriously lost his sense of integrity. He started bending rules, telling little lies. Lies that are leading him to federal charges. It's a shame that money and greed made him forget exactly who he is.

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  5. So well said! The hubs & I talk about this a lot- seems to be a void in today's society when it comes to Integrity. Yes it's hard doing the right thing sometimes- but that is when we show our true character. I too am grieving for those victims. It sickens me when I hear of the innocence of a child being stripped from them- I am hoping justice is served swiftly. It has taken too long.

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