Integrity

1stqtr07 266Moral and ethical principles; moral character; honesty

The time is always right to do what is right. Martin Luther King, Jr 

Integrity is doing the right thing, even if nobody is watching.   Author Unknown

I cannot find language of sufficient energy to convey my sense of the sacredness of private integrity.   Ralph Waldo Emerson

If we are not a person of integrity we are less than we should be. Integrity implies a code of high conduct. Embodied in it is a commitment to principles of honor, honesty, morality, and decency. It means we have standards to which we hold ourselves accountable. Each of us is ultimately responsible to answer to ourselves.

There are no civil laws requiring us to have integrity. There are many people today who have little or no integrity. Many would say this is part of the reason why our world is in such moral decay. Integrity is not something we are born with. It is something that we are taught or learn as we grow and develop. Regrettably too many find themselves in environments where integrity is perhaps the exception rather than the rule. What happened to the days where it was not necessary to lock your doors, worry about your children playing in the neighborhood and counting on others to keep their word?

We are designed to be rational thinking creatures. We start out with innate intelligence and abilities and then learn and develop based on our environment and all our experiences. Part of our development it what we call our upbringing. We were taught by parents, grandparents, neighbors and teachers to be moral, honest, and to have character. It is what was expected and most of us do a pretty good job of living up to these expectations.

Whatever the reason, the nature and degree of our integrity has seriously slipped. As a society we do not display the quality of integrity as once we did. Integrity starts with and belongs to each of us as a fundamental basic responsibility. Without it, we cannot be people of high character. We are doomed to never live up to our potential. We are corrupted and handicapped, seriously stunting our growth and development. Every time we do something that is wrong, we do harm to ourselves. We have damaged our very core. Every time we choose the wrong rather than the right, we sacrifice and compromise our goodness. If we do it enough times, it gets easier and easier. Soon we forget there was a right way. We become programmed to choose the wrong way.

Integrity is priceless and irreplaceable. We cannot afford to compromise or lose it. We need to recommit ourselves to being people of the highest integrity.

Challenge:  You are likely well aware of the times when you falter, compromise and do the wrong thing. Your conscience does not let you off that easily. You may be good at rationalizing and justifying your actions. Bad deeds prevent you from growing and developing. Instead hold fast and persevere and do the right thing. When tempted to slip, remember how sacred your integrity is. Short term gains are not worth the long term damage.

Wisdom: Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity. W Clement Stone.

Spiritual: (NIV)

What the wicked dreads will overtake him; what the righteous desire will be granted. Proverbs 10:24

His God instructs him and teaches him the right way. Isaiah 28:26

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:6

God gives talents and abilities when we are conceived. He designs us to have a personal relationship with Him. We are not designed to live life without Him. A life without God, is doomed in so many ways. One of which is that we are not capable of becoming all that we can be without Him. God loves each of us. We are his children. He wants the very best for us. He has given us free will. We must choose to have this personal relationship.

Prayer: Help me to have the strength and courage to make right choices and not give in to wrong choices.

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