“Integrity is choosing your thoughts and actions, based on values rather than personal gains.” – Chris Karcher
An incident occurred on October 20, 1973, when a certain individual was instructed by his superior to fire the person who was in charge of investigating the superior. Instead of listening to his superior and breaking the law, this individual chose to resign his position.
This incident is a perfect example of integrity. Its core principles center on an individual’s honesty, having strong moral principles, behaving ethically, and consistently doing the right thing (even when no one is looking). It is not innate but acquired from past exposure to values over years of development. The exposure and influence centers on family, faith, friends, and friends of the family, where the teachings of openness, honesty, and right vs. wrong are paramount.
Even though it is ingrained, over time, personal integrity may be chiseled down by the relentless onslaught of exposure to negative values experienced in life. If you feel that your personal integrity has waned or if you wish to turn a new leaf, the following are suggestions that may help toward your goal, according to Elizabeth Perry and her Seven Traits Associated with Integrity:
- Expressing gratitude for others
- Valuing openness and honesty
- Taking responsibility and accountability for your actions, both good and bad
- Respecting yourself and others around you, no matter where you are
- Helping those in need without sacrificing your own health
- Demonstrating reliability and trustworthiness
- Showing patience and flexibility, even when unexpected obstacles show up
Personally, yours truly has encountered many challenges to my personal integrity. On one such occasion, there was offered to me a substantial benefit by a company to endorse and affirm their products. Vehemently, it was declined; and at that time, I felt very satisfied, contented, and at peace with the stand that was made. That impacted me so much that decades later, I still can recall it.
And as for the individual in the beginning incident? His name was Elliot Richardson, his superior was President Richard Nixon, and the special prosecutor was Archibald Cox. Richardson’s resignation, along with others, was called “The Saturday Night Massacre”, and was centered on the Watergate investigations of President Nixon and his White House personnel on possible illegal activities. This eventually led to President Nixon’s resignation on August 8, 1974.
Integrity is such a necessity of standards; when adhering to them, it could make this world a better place to live not only for oneself, but for others as well. As adults, we can improve, refine, and reevaluate our own standards. But where are the Elliot Richardsons of today? We need only to look at ourselves and make that choice of integrity. I believe that this is what the Lord would want us to do.
“Integrity gives personal freedom, because you have nothing to fear because you have nothing to hide.” – Zig Ziglar