A Crisis of Integrity

Life has never been easy, but it seems as if the world is unraveling at a hectic pace. Anger and hostility are front and center of the 24-hour news cycle and battle lines are drawn. Society is not a pretty place right now, and I see a shortage of integrity as one of the contributors. 

Integrity: The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles, moral uprightness: he/she is known to be a person of integrity.

In an intentional effort to stay away from current polarizing issues, I will use a far more benign example to make my point about the importance of integrity. I love my wife to pieces! We have a great marriage, but few relationships are easy. All take an intentional effort and hard work especially if we don’t learn a couple basic things that in my opinion are key to any relationship – familial, work, political….

First, you have to be teachable. If you know it all then you have nothing to learn. Second, you have to be willing to say you are sorry - even when you feel you have done nothing wrong. When I learned these two things, our marriage improved. I actually began listening to what she was saying rather than thinking of my counter argument. I tried to see it from her perspective. Just as importantly, I learned to say I was sorry and added a question, “Will you forgive me?” Before long, I was unconsciously following these steps in other areas of my life. I am still learning to measure my words, guide my thoughts, and consider the thoughts and feelings of others. My faith is my daily guide, and I want to hear my Father say, “Well done!”

The unraveling of our society is much more complex than my example, but I really don’t see how it can hurt to be teachable and genuinely apologetic. There was a time when life was simpler than it is today. The news was limited to a newspaper and a 30-minute broadcast. People actually conversed (talking and listening) with each other. That time may be gone forever, but we can still hear about it first hand from a senior. Like you and me, they often learned the hard way. Their experiences should have produced wisdom, but in the event wisdom didn’t take root, we can still learn from the encounter.

Integrity may be in short supply, but we don’t have to be contributors to the shortage.

Stan Means
Elder Source Senior Ministries
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