Sunday, December 16, 2012

Integrity Through & Through



I get tired of seeing liars and hypocrites seem to get away with what they do and even earn praise and popularity from others. This world just seems to get worse and worse, but I need to focus on the positive things and the good examples I know.

I need to just remember the law of the harvest and know that what they reap, they will sow someday. And someday I will be rewarded for my plodding along, day after day, holding fast to the iron rod and ignoring the chances presented to let go and to live opposite to everything I am and believe.

I think that for those of us who do not stray, it is not because we aren’t surrounded by the same sorts of chances to do wrong, but because in our hearts and the core of our beings we are disciples of Christ. In order to remain strong, we must become a better person, not just practice better behavior. We will ultimately be judged by who we have become, not just what we have done.

People can do the right thing because of fear of guilt or fear of getting caught. But they have not become a better person for doing the right thing. And they will not be rewarded the same.

"People of integrity and honesty not only practice what they preach, they are what they preach. And the Savior stands as the finest example."
Elder David A. Bednar, "Be Honest," New Era, Oct. 2005, 7

“In contrast to the institutions of the world, which teach us to know something, the gospel of Jesus Christ challenges us to become something.”
Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “The Challenge to Become,” Ensign, November 2000, 32
A couple of weeks ago, I asked Sabrina if she remembered what integrity meant. I really liked her answer and have been thinking a lot about it. She said, “Integrity is doing what is right when no one is looking because it’s what you want to do.”

There are so many people who pretend to be one type of person in front of others, but when they think others aren’t looking, they do what they really want to do in their hearts---steal, lie, commit adultery… And there are others who have no desire to do any of those things even if they wouldn’t get caught or somehow not feel guilty. Those are the people who have integrity and would not give away their eternal blessings for temporary, fleeting rewards.

I recently watched Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin’s talk Personal Integrity and a certain word he used to describe integrity stood out to me. “Incorruptible” Oh, how the incorruptible people shine with the Savior’s light. Have you ever seen someone who you know is hiding something from others or living in a way contrary to what they say they believe? They are the corruptible, corrupted people and you can see the lack of light. I have seen it. Following are some quotes from his talk.
"To me, integrity means always doing what is right and good, regardless of the immediate consequences. It means being righteous from the very depth of our soul, not only in our actions but, more importantly, in our thoughts and in our hearts. Personal integrity implies such trustworthiness and incorruptibility that we are incapable of being false to a trust or covenant.

"…many today trade away their integrity for a very small price tag. A person who shoplifts for a candy bar, or makeup, or jewelry trades priceless integrity for a meager gain. A person who falsifies a tax return by not reporting income or claiming invalid deductions compromises valued integrity for a pittance of unpaid income tax. One who avoids paying bills promptly for goods or services received exchanges cherished integrity for a perceived temporary advantage. Husbands or wives who are unfaithful to their spouses trade their prized integrity for a fleeting moment of mirth. Integrity is so precious that it is beyond price; it is invaluable.

"Joseph’s integrity placed him among the greatest of our Heavenly Father’s sons. He did what was right and good; he was trustworthy and incorruptible, self-disciplined never to violate a trust.

"Because of his integrity and righteousness, Joseph was favored and blessed of the Lord in every circumstance. His life is evidence that “all things work together for good to [those who] love God.” (Rom. 8:28.)

“A man’s true greatness is not in what he says he is, nor in what people say he is; [but really] in what he really is.' (Hartshorn, p. 38.)"

President James E. Faust also used the same word that I now like to describe integrity in his talk Integrity, the Mother of Many Virtues
"The dictionary defines integrity as a firm adherence to a code of moral values (see Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary). It connotes soundness and incorruptibility. It is the mother of many virtues.
 
Complete and constant integrity is a great law of human conduct. There need to be some absolutes in life. There are some things that should not ever be done, some lines that should never be crossed, vows that should never be broken, words that should never be spoken, and thoughts that should never be entertained."

The world teaches the exact opposite of that last paragraph, teaching that anything goes, there should be no rules to hold us down and no vows that can't be easily broken.
 
There are many blessings for having integrity, some of which come soon (like peace and the presence of the Holy Ghost) and others that come later, even in the next life. How could anything be worth throwing away those blessings away forever? Are those people who have no integrity trustworthy or respectable?

…till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me.
Job 27:5

1 comment:

  1. That's a really important post, Valerie! It's hard to see people be so deceitful and appear to be doing well. Good thing we know that isn't how it works, right? Now if I could always keep that in mind, it would help me not to judge others. I can tell you've taught your kids important values, too. You are a really good woman, Valerie! I am so proud of you!

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