Whatever Happened To Integrity?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

How has integrity been disintegrating in society, business, and especially in politics?

Costly Choices

Years ago, a man applied for an executive position with a large company. He was applying for the Chief Financial Officer position…a job that paid over a quarter million dollars annually. After the man was interviewed by the CEO, and then later spoke to the Board, they all agreed that the man was a good choice. After approving of the man’s hire, they all thought it would be appropriate if they went out to eat to celebrate, and even more appropriately, at the company cafeteria. In the lunch line, the new hire was just in front of the CEO when the CEO noticed the man slid 2 pads of butter under his napkin. After seeing the man do this, the CEO had another meeting with the board and told them what he saw. After a short discussion, they withdrew the offer. The man had lost a high-paying job over 20 cents worth of butter! I heard a great example of integrity, or the lack thereof, from Dr. Irwin Lutzer (Running to Win Ministries). He recalled an account where there were two men from two different construction companies who had submitted bids for a large construction job. While one of the men was waiting in the office, the contractor noticed an envelope with the other contractors name on it. He assumed it was the bid submitted by his competitor, but sitting right on top of that folder was a can of pop. The man couldn’t resist and had to look to see what the other contractor’s bid was, but when he picked up the can of pop, thousands of BB’s spilled onto the floor and went everywhere. Obviously the man didn’t get the bid but the other contractor did. That’s because he refused to look at his competitor’s bid when he had the chance to. He seemed to know better. One man had integrity while the other didn’t. The failed-hire and the contractor both made costly decisions because they lacked integrity.Bible Lessons About Forgiveness

The Unfaithful Manager

Integrity is defined as the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles or a moral uprightness, and as we’ve read, lacking integrity can be very costly. Integrity is best shown when no one is around and we still make the right choices. Conversely, a lack of integrity can bring down marriages, wreck relationships, destroy trust, and rob people of opportunities. In the Parable of the Unfaithful Manager, Jesus showed that one manager was fired due to his negligence at work, so the man thought, “If I can make friends with those the company owes, then maybe they can help me someday” (Luke 16:3-4). One of Jesus’ points is for us to “make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings” (Luke 16:9). The word for wealth is from the Greek word “mammon,” but it doesn’t just mean money. Mammon includes all of a person’s wealth, or all their possessions. Jesus is saying that we ought to use our resources to share Christ and spread the gospel…or our “unrighteous wealth” to make new disciples of Christ. Then, on the day we enter the kingdom, those we’ve shared Christ with will welcome us “into eternal dwellings.” It’ll be like, “Hey, I know you. You shared Christ with me. You’re part of the reason I’m here!” When we give out of our own time and treasure, we can help lead others to Christ. Besides, at best, we’re only stewards…God owns it all.

Faithful in Little or Much

Will we be faithful in little, unlike the failed-hire for the new CFO position? If he couldn’t be trusted with 20 cents worth of butter, how could that man ever be trusted to handle millions of dollars with integrity? The fact is, he couldn’t! Jesus conclusion to all this teaching in the Parable of the Unfaithful Manger is this: “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own” (Luke 16:10-12)? If we lack integrity, even in the smallest of things, then how can God expect us to rule over much in the kingdom?

Benefits of Integrity

A person that walks in integrity in this life has a GPS with them…a Godly Positioning Security. That is, they can walk in security if they live a life of integrity. Proverbs 10:9 says, “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out,” so you can be sure that “your sin shall find you out” (Num 32:23)! It’s much better for “a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways” (Prov 28:6), and to repeat this important lesson, Solomon writes again, “Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool” (Prov 19:1). God will guide a person so that they walk in security if they are walking in integrity. We know this because “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them” (Prov 11:3). I’ve noticed a pattern here: Whoever “walks in integrity walks securely,” but if you don’t, the “ways are crooked.”

Conclusion

We are commanded to “not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices” (Col 3:9). James’ advice is to “let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation” (James 5:12). God is not pleased when we lie (Ex 20:16), so let me, and “let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another” (Eph 4:29). Someday…perhaps soon, or after your death, it’s going to be like the old TV show: This is Your Life! Everything you did in life, good and bad, will be judged. Jesus said, “For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light” (Luke 8:17), so “little children, abide in him so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming” (1 John 2:28). I can assure you, those who walk in integrity will not be ashamed at His appearance.



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