Whatever Happened To Integrity?

Whatever Happened To Integrity? June 14, 2019

What’s happened to the subject of integrity? Isn’t it still important?

Integrity

If we look at the definition of integrity, we can see the importance of such a virtue in society. To have integrity is to be trusted by others. After time, they know from experience that the person can be trusted, based upon their past. Integrity is the practice or habit of being an honest person before others; saying what you mean and meaning what you say; and doing that which was promised but in an honest manner. Having integrity is having a consistent and uncompromising adherence to ethical and moral principles. All of this is based upon honesty and truthfulness, and a person who has integrity is a person that is both honest and truthful in all their dealings with others, no matter how small or large the matter is. Several biblical characters displayed integrity, including Joseph and Daniel, so why is the subject of integrity rarely used these days in Bible studies or in the secular media? Has it now become acceptable since there is widespread corruption? Have we accepted the unacceptable as the norm?

Thomas Agnew and Sons. Daniel in the Lions Den, 1892.

The Dishonest CFO

Several years ago, there was a job opening for a Chief Financial Officer for a very large company. The interview went well, and after having met with the Board of Directors, they were unanimous in their endorsement of the man. He was offered the CFO position and accepted it. Now it was time to celebrate, but instead of having a dinner at a fine restaurant, the CEO thought it would be appropriate if they all ate in the company cafeteria. They let the CFO go first in line, and while they were moving down the buffet line, the CEO, standing next in line, noticed that he slid two 10 cent patties of butter under his napkin. After lunch, the CEO talked with the board members about it, and they were unanimous again, only this time they agreed that the company should withdraw the offer. For a measly 20 cents worth of butter, a man lost a job paying over a quarter million dollars, however, if this man wasn’t going to be honest with very little, how could he be trusted with a lot more? Maybe the CEO had thought of Jesus’ teaching: “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” (Luke 16:10). This particular teaching of Jesus fit this scenario perfectly!

The Dishonest Manager

Someone who is faithful is someone who has the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; a moral uprightness, so a lack of faithfulness can get someone fired. That’s what happened in the account where Jesus taught in the Parable of the Dishonest Manager (Luke 16:1-8). The manager dealt shrewdly with others because he knew he’d be out of a job and in need of some friends, so that’s why Jesus’ concluded this lesson by telling his disciples 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 used for “wealth” is “mammon,” and doesn’t only refer to money, but to possessions, so Jesus’ council is to use your possessions (money, resources, and time) to share Christ, so that when you enter the kingdom, those “friends” will welcome you. That’s because you’re part of the reason they are there! That’s where the “eternal dwellings” are at…not here below.

Faithful in Little

The job the man had for less than a day, wasn’t even faithful even in the smallest of things. They knew that if he was not going to be honest with such small amounts, there’s no way they could be sure he would be faithful in much more. Jesus’ teaching is perfectly set for this in Luke 16: 10-12, where our Lord says, “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?” Can you blame the CEO for not hiring this man? If we do not have integrity, even in the smallest of things in life, we cannot be trusted in the big things. How can we think God will allow us to have more responsibility in the kingdom, when we’re not being responsible with the little we have today?

As Unto Christ

Jesus not only gave the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20), but He also showed what it looks like to serve others. In serving others, they are actually serving Christ. Jesus said, “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me” (Matt 25:35-36), but apparently they were not keeping track of their works. They answered Jesus, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you” (Matt 25:37-39). Jesus answered them with the answer of the ages: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matt 25:40). This is why Jesus told them in the beginning, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt 25:34). Their responsibilities and rewards were relative to what they’d done for Christ while in the body. Do you not eagerly desire to hear Jesus say, “Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities” (Luke 19:17)? If He can trust you with 20 cents, He can surely trust you with more in the kingdom.

Nothings Hidden

Second Coming of JesusIf you read Scripture, it becomes apparent that walking in integrity secures your footing. Proverbs 10:9 says, “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out,” sounding very much like Numbers 32:23 which says that if “you have sinned against the Lord…be sure your sin will find you out” (Num 32:23). God so values integrity that He says, “Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways” (Prov 28:6), and 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). The sum of all it all is, “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them” (Prov 11:3). Notice that walking in integrity secures the path, but the wicked will be found out…much like the almost-CFO, so “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). Maybe not today…but in time, you can be sure.

Conclusion

Walking in integrity today will have its advantages today, but also into eternity, but how you fare on the day of His appearance will largely depend upon how you are living today. The Apostle John writes, “And now, 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). We can walk in integrity and not be ashamed at His appearing, but rejoice at it…but those who refuse to walk in integrity, know for certain; “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 “be sure your sin will find you out” (Num 32:23b).

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is an ordained elder of the Brethren Church and a Pastor and Prison Minister in the State of Kansas, but also a writer at Christian Quotes and What Christians Want to Know which address questions about the Bible. He also plants ministries like nursing home ministries, Outreach for the poor, and other evangelistic activities, and check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • pud

    Oh the irony! You preaching about integrity as you censor posts and make your wretched pitiful living by lying to children about stuff you know nothing about. You live an entire life full of delusion, self deception and irrationality and you spread your poison for profit to children yet to achieve the ability to reason. You have absolutely no integrity at all.

  • Lark62

    Do you denounce Trump and those who support him?

    • Jack Wellman

      The Bible teaches us to pray for those in leadership, and that’s what I do, regardless of who is in office. I support doing what the Bible says.

      • pud

        Burning witches? Slavery? Do you support them? The bible says to.

        • Wacka Troll

          Pud, why do you support burning slaves and witchery. Prayers bro. So sad…. SMH
          ;(

          • DDRLSGC

            Where does Pud says that he support burning slaves and witchery?

      • kyuss

        I bet you wear mixed fabrics and have eaten shellfish a time or two, haven’t you, Jack?

        • Jack Wellman

          I am not Jewish. Jesus declared all foods clean. I would guess you don’t really study the Bible sufficiently to understand how your question isn’t even in context.

          • kyuss

            matthew 5:18 disagrees.

        • Jack Wellman

          Since I see you are simply a troll & cannot find proof on your own and seek the help of others for proof, I will just block you and not waste my time as it says (Matt 7:6). I will pray you repent and believe, as Jesus said is necessary (Mark 1:16).

          • kyuss

            I’ll take that as a “yes”. I’m not surprised that you’re a giant cafeteria christian who picks and chooses which of the asinine rules to follow and discard the ones that are hard, immoral or don’t comport with a modern day lifestyle.

  • Susan Jane Elohim

    Keep blogging, Pastor. You’re the only blog as far as I can tell actually delivering the Gospel and Bible messages and not overly concerned with current events on Disqus so that makes your blog the most important and personally relevant blog on Disqus/Patheos and one of the most important on the whole internet.

    You couldn’t help but attract the trolls. Religious and political discussions always attracts more than their fair share of flame throwers.

    I just wanted to mention the Slavic Gospel Association is a charity that helps children in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe that have been beat down by alcoholism and atheism.

    It is a charity supported by Josh McDowell.

    I don’t know why the militant atheists want to give Christian child rearing a bad name like the atheist pud and evolutionary scientist Richard Dawkins does while they ignore what happened under state enforced atheism in Eastern block nations.

    But that is a charity that deals with and tells of the abuses that occurred.

    People really do get in trouble when other people think there is no God that will hold them accountable for their actions.

    The children being helped by the SGA are propsering under the benevolent attention for a change. They feel loved for once in their lives after being raised under abusive people and overly controlling, repressive governments.

    Blessings.

    • Jack Wellman

      Thank you so much. Sounds like a worthy charity to me.

  • Carlos Santiago

    Thank you Jack for these important words. I was reading through Psalms that echoed a similar message today. Blessings Jack and have a blessed weekend.

  • Guestie

    Second try: I had a banned term the first time. The banned term was that thing a lot of us do between nine and five and that rhymes with cob.

    I have tried googling any combination of terms to find a story about the CFO (or executive) who lost his employment offer over stolen butter pats and can find nothing on it. Could you provide a source, please? Thanks.

    • Jean Camille

      How did you know the cob rhyme was banned? I’m going to check if it gets through in isolation. And how do you track down the rules for their filter?

      • Guestie

        I’d seen others mention that “job” was on the list so I took that to be the case. Some weeks ago there was a spreadsheet with banned terms. The list was about ~700 words. There was a link to the spreadsheet in a comment on another Patheos blog. People were sharing workarounds (like the no space – space) but the moderators appeared to be tracking the suggested workarounds and eliminating them.

        • Jean Camille

          The rules seem to vary between Patheos blogs. This one does not seem to have anyone moderating flagged posts. They just sit there. Though one can select to view them, I wonder if they appear on notifications.
          Thanks for your comment.

          • Guestie

            I believe the moderating is up to the moderator(s) of each blog. If he/she/they lack the time or interest, it likely just doesn’t happen. From comments elsewhere, the naughty list seems to apply across the entire Patheos site. However, it also appears that the naughty list is subject to frequent change. Some of the words that were/are on the list are unbelievable. For example, the name of the Muslim god (rhymes with challah) was on the list. Laughable, given that Patheos has a Muslim channel. Don’t know if that name is still on the list.

    • Jean Camille

      I assume the 9 to 5 thing is your job.
      [Edit: so this got through… I find their filter is extremely irritating, and the parent site seems uninterested in talking about it]

  • kyuss

    not one thing. what evidence can you proffer that shows that the integrity of people who are alive today is less than the people who lived, say, one hundred and fifty years ago?

  • Emily Elizabeth Windsor-Cragg

    Virtues, per se, are not discussed. 1. Young people under 40 do not have the VOCABULARY, and 2. Do not FOCUS on issues. They are centered on feelings. and crave Safety. 3. There is an AGENDA at work in the media, to lapse morals, to slide Ethics, and REFRAIN from complaining outtside PC boundaries. The Agenda comes down to us from Rich Men whose money is spent on NGOrgs, on lobbying, on propagating doctrine of Globalism, Consumerism and Hedonism.

  • gdubya31

    Thanks for another excellent article! I would simply add that the stories and stated actions/outcomes (modern day and Biblical) are all the byproducts of integrity or lack thereof. Integrity itself is in line with the word “integer” which all of us 2nd grade math whizzes know is a “whole” number as well as the Hebrew concept and word, “Shalom.” We interpret shalom as peace most often and that is partially true but the concept of “wholeness” is a more complete understanding and that is what gives us peace…every part of our lives in line with God’s Truth is what makes us integral or whole and gives us the peace we seek…even when we have to make tough decisions or avoid making bad ones that are shortcuts. If there is any part that we are not complying (seeking to mature in compliance) that will be where our lack of integrity shows up and our peace disrupted. Thanks again and make it a great day in The Lord!