08 Nov Let’s talk Integrity
A group of college students were walking towards the beach on a Friday evening in a pensive mood. Ravi broke the silence and said in a harsh voice–‘Integrity — Integrity — Integrity’. I wonder who invented this word; I do not see this in any sphere of our life. -Did you note that today Rani got A+, who copied when the professor left the class for a short time and I was honest and I did my best and I know I have not missed out anything and yet I got only B+. Moreover she is very attractive and often the professors are very partial to her’.
‘Well, well’ said Suganthi –‘Let us relax Ravi and have fun, we came here to relax and enjoy the evening so let us not talk about college or grades’. Others got the cue from Suganthi and they cracked jokes on various issues for a short time. They also started to discuss what each one of them is going to be doing on Saturday evening. Ramesh who was quiet for sometime noted that most of the group was
not doing anything important or fun stuff this Saturday so he said- ‘ Hi, guys did you know that tomorrow evening one Dr. Richard is speaking to the college students at the Cathedral relaxing room and the topic is –‘Integrity’. Most of them echoed-‘what- On integrity?’ Ramesh continued and said ‘you know guys whether we like the lecture or not at the end there is a pot luck dinner. ‘That’s yummy,’ said Suresh. Many of them including Ravi echoed – ‘we are all game—we will be there by 6 pm tomorrow’.
On Saturday evening after the formal introduction, Dr Richard said: Integrity is the state of being whole and not divided. He continued, ‘At any point of time when there is human relationship, there is an opportunity for integrity or a lack of it. All it means is that you live out your life in private in the same way you live or talk about your life in public. We Christians are called to the highest of ideals. We believe in death to self – that is to forget all our desires and give up our rights when we are required to do so, but we struggle to live a life of integrity. We all know how great men both in the Christian circle and in the non-Christian circle fell because their private life did not match what they were in the college campus or at work.
The word ‘Integrity’ is found 22 times in the Bible and we will discuss some of them. King David in 1 Chr. 29:17 sings, I know my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. In 1 Kings 9: 4-5, God says to Solomon, ‘If you walk before me in integrity of heart as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws, I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever. Dr Richard continued, Can we hear His voice? – Yes, when we read His Word, in prayers, when we are walking or gardening or cooking at any point of time if we are tuned to Him and are willing to listen to Him. Ravi’s mind went racing-‘Wow! How wonderful, the Creator of galaxies will speak to me, I am going to wait and pray and will eagerly wait for the day when He will speak to me’.
Dr Richard continued, ‘The book of Psalms is full of David praising and declaring the importance of Integrity. In Ps. 41:12, David says,
In my integrity, you uphold me and set me in your presence. In Psalms 78:72, Asaph testifies of David saying, David shepherded them with integrity of heart. We are God’s children when we accept Jesus as our personal Saviour. In Matthew 22: 16 and Mark 12: 14, the highly educated religious leaders declare about Jesus, ‘Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity and teach the way of God in truth. You are not swayed by men because you pay no attention to who they may be’. Can we be like Him? Yes, if we constantly pray and ask His help.
Jesus loves to hear His children’s voices so keep talking to Him. Paul also instructs in Titus 2:7, In everything set them an example, by
doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you, may be ashamed because they have nothing to say against us.
Dr Richard concluded his talk saying, ‘In the college campus or in your work spot, to be like Jesus is not easy – temptations are too many including sexual temptations, to be absolutely honest and be a person of integrity, only Jesus can help. My prayer to God is that each one seated here will become people of integrity. Ravi and his friends were happy, enjoyed every bit of the grand potluck dinner provided by EGF, staff and friends of EU/EGF and made a commitment to be like Jesus, people of integrity and pray for their professors and others in their group at college.
About the Author
Dr Iris is a medical missionary involved in Total Development in Malkangiri dist, Odisha, for the last 40 years.