Is integrity a big deal? In what areas of your life is your integrity tested?
A graduate student of mine told me about an incident when his thesis advisor attempted to take credit for his research. The student went to the department chair after repeated efforts to resolve the dispute went unheeded by the advisor. The advisor was chastised for his unethical behavior.
An alumnus of mine was hosting a male client on behalf of his company. Part of the situation was getting some company files to the man for review after a day-long presentation. At the end of the day, my former student was asked by the client to arrange female companionship for the night. As my friend considered what to do about this request, one of his female colleagues (and unknown to him), had finished collecting all the files and delivered them to the client in one of the offices. The client made inappropriate sexual advances on the young lady, which she refused.
She quickly contacted her supervisor, and a meeting ensued with the client and the company’s senior leaders. The client rebuffed the accusation of the young lady, even suggesting that my friend would corroborate his story, in effect, ruining the career of his colleague. Instead, my former student stood by his colleague and said the client had asked him to back up his false story. His refusal to lie, saved his colleague’s career, and ended up costing the client his job.
A student was having trouble with her grades and instead of studying more and even getting a tutor, she decided to cheat on an upcoming exam and project. She thought no one would notice, but her attempt to use the answers to the test that were stolen from the teacher’s office, and, plagiarizing another student’s material for the project were discovered. The investigation found several other incidents of academic dishonesty. Her penalty? She was expelled from school. That’s a major consequence for a lack of integrity.
Why is integrity a big deal? We see, hear, or read a person’s lack of trustworthiness being brushed aside because of the notion that no one is perfect, they had a rough upbringing, they didn’t really know it was wrong, or that no one was hurt. Read Proverbs 11:1-6.
God’s Word makes a big deal about integrity. Proverbs 11:3 says, “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” Destroyed? That is a big deal.
To have integrity means that we have a clear and clean conscience – free from an over the shoulder fear of discovery. The writer of Proverbs 10:9 said, “The person of integrity walks securely, but he or she who takes crooked paths will be found out.” Integrity gives us freedom of mind and a protection that dishonesty can never provide. There are no tracks to cover up.
Who do you know that has hit rock bottom because of integrity issues? What made them slip and choose a dishonest path? What does that teach you? Think now about your choices and actions. Are you acting with integrity because you are convinced you will honor God by living that way? Or do you sometimes think the cost of integrity is higher than the payment for dishonesty?
Think theologically. What makes you liable to lean toward dishonesty? Why is your integrity important to your testimony for Christ? On the gravestone at the end of your life, what do you want to be known for? Why is integrity the way to live out your faith in Jesus? Choose well.
Love is a verb,