by on May.08, 2011, under Articles
MOMENT OF TRUTH
A building without integrity may receive structural damage, or even collapse, in a storm. Similarly, people without integrity are blown about by the winds of misfortune and destroyed by catastrophes, for they lack the firmness, solidity, and strength of character to weather any storm. Dr. William Menninger (1899 ~ 1966) called integrity one of the six essential qualities that are the key to success.
By Jean Jantzen
Have you ever tuned into Moment of Truth? I accidentally did the other night. Contestants answer a series of 21 increasingly personal and embarrassing questions to receive cash prizes. One contestant, a mother of three and a volunteer firefighter was asked: “Have you ever shoplifted from a store and given it to your kids?” The woman laughed and said “yes, all the time.” I was so astonished by her response I listened to more. The next question was: “Have you ever set fire to a neighbours’ property and the answer was again “Yes.” “Do you want attention from men other than your husband?” “Yes!” “Have you ever stolen anything from a relative’s house?” “Yes!” “Did you ever cheat on your Red Cross first aide exam?” “Yes!” “As a volunteer firefighter have you ever ignored a call to come when you were called?” And again the answer was an astonishing yes! Hopefully not too many people would shoot themselves in the foot as that contestant was doing.
The young woman was laughing all the while. Of course she had taken a lie detector test before being on the show and a voice was telling the audience whether the woman’s answers were true or false. And they were all true so far. It was evident she was only confessing to win money. Yet she didn’t get too much further before she was caught in a lie.
I don’t know about the rest of America but I was shocked at her answers. She seemed to have no ethics and was glibly admitting it before the world for cash. What was she thinking? What was she teaching her children? Is she a product of our society? How important is honest and upright character to God? The totally honest person recognizes, sometimes unconsciously, that everything he or she does is a statement about who he or she really is as a person. This woman’s vision of right and wrong was entirely out of focus.
In Redefining Morality John Schroeder states “America is now fighting a crucial civil war over moral values within its own borders. Put another way, a culture virtually devoid of adherence to biblical standards and often openly hostile to them, is rapidly growing right inside its own geographical borders” (The Good News March-April 2008).
In his book When Nations Die cultural commentator Jim Black “documents 10 key factors that led to the decline and collapse of earlier great powers such as ancient Greece and Rome. He sees the United States standing at a historic crossroads, afflicted with those same symptoms…The spiritual and intellectual qualities of American life are seriously degraded, and the soul of the nation is in jeopardy”(1994 p 7).
A recent report in Psychology Today concluded: “The most significant predictor of a person’s moral behavior may be religious commitment. People who consider themselves very religious were least likely to report deceiving their friends, having extramarital affairs, cheating on their expenses accounts, or even parking illegally.” Based on this finding, what we believe about Creation has a decided effect on our moral thinking and our behavior. Without belief in a Creator, the only option that seems to be left is to adhere to moral standards we make up for ourselves.”
Integrity is the foundation of character. And character development is one of the most important activities we can engage in; working on our character means disciplining ourselves to do more and more of those things that a thoroughly honest person would do, under all circumstances. This takes the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We need to stand out in a crowd in a good way and that we honour God in all our actions. The community people we know, any endeavor we are apart of, our places of employment; they should recognize our good and upright character and witness our acts of kindness, honesty, gentleness.
Do you remember the days when most people had personal integrity? Remember when your word was your bond? You could shake on a deal and it was good. I suspect those days truly were a long time ago. But people should see that our word is good, that we always show up when we say we’re going to, that they can count on us through thick and thin.
The other day we were finding a house to rent for our son and the owner didn’t want money or papers signed, said he believes in the old way…a handshake seals the deal…unbelievable in today’s world.
King David was familiar with what God expected from his people. He says “I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things have I given willingly and with honest intent…” (1 Chronicles 29:17).
Nehemiah when building the walls around Jerusalem says, “I put in charge of Jerusalem my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah, the commander of the citadel, because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most men do” (Nehemiah 7:2).
“Personal integrity is the number one quality of leadership. Integrity in leadership is expressed in terms of constancy and consistency. It is manifested in an absolute devotion to keeping one’s word. The glue that holds all relationships together ¬ including the relationship between the leader and the led ¬ is trust, and trust is based on personal integrity” (Brian Tracy Developing Personal Integrity).
Daniel and his friends became leaders in a foreign country because of their integrity. Right away these children refuse the kings’ menu of meat and wine, which probably was rich and tasty, but they insist on a diet of mainly vegetables and water…pretty amazing for children. Daniel was faithful in interpreting the king’s dreams good or bad, acknowledging God as interpreter. He was raised to a position of power and authority because of his integrity. Daniel never tried to hide his worship of the true God in a pagan nation, but prayed openly three times a day even though it put him in danger. God rewarded Daniel’s integrity, by protecting him from the mouth of the lion. And wow, listen to what the angel Gabriel told him “For you are greatly beloved.” (Daniel 9:21-23). To know that the God of the Universe thinks a great deal of one’s integrity is an awesome thing. One day we pray He thinks that of us because of our love, loyalty and integrity. The day we stand before Jesus Christ will be our moment of truth.