One Reason Why You Should Live with Integrity

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Several months ago a woman, who is not my wife, came to my house and falsely claimed that we had an intimate relationship.

The lady came by my house and dropped off a gift and a card. When I saw the package, I just put it on the ground and went back to pruning the shrubs. My wife came by and asked about the package. I told her who it was from and that I wasn’t going opening it.

(The woman who dropped off the letter had been attending our church for a few years, but was mentally unstable).

My wife opened the card.

“You’d better look at this,” she said with an upside-down smile.

In the letter, she falsely described an encounter between the two of us.

As a missionary leader at our church, I knew there was no point in trying to hide the content of the letter. Not knowing any better course of action, I took the letter and gave it to some of the leaders at the church. They told me they’d meet with her and take care of the situation.

It wasn’t until days later that I realized how well everything turned out.

  • My wife didn’t ask if it was true.
  • The members at church didn’t ask if it was true.

Everyone just instinctively knew that the accusation was false.

In this case, it could easily be said that the woman’s lack of morality and character was the reason why the accusation was not taken seriously. However, it did make me realize how potentially damaging an accusation can be.

What if she was a person with a little more credibility?

It’s hard to know what to say when you’re falsely accused. There’s not much to say other than, “I didn’t do it.”

Ultimately, the lesson I learned is that integrity matters. In times of unfair accusations and false rumors, integrity can often be your only witness.

How to Develop Integrity in Leadership

  1. Realize every action counts. No one will say it, but everyone is watching. How you acted 10 years ago could instantly be brought to light. Integrity is a trust account that is slowly built over a long period of time. There is no quick way to build integrity.
  2. Act in light of God’s Presence. If you ever find yourself looking over your shoulder before doing something, it probably means you shouldn’t do it. Instead, look up. If God is present, then do what is right in His sight.
  3. Avoid situations where misunderstanding is possible. When I was in youth ministry, I had a policy that I wouldn’t drive alone in a car with a teenage girl. It was a terrible inconvenience at times, but I’m glad I made that choice. It helped build a solid history of accountability.
  4. Embrace forms of accountability. Freedom is not the ability to act without answering to anyone. It is choosing the right ways to be open. That may be a window on an office door. It may be requiring a financial audit. Open the door to accountability for your own protection.
  5. Surround yourself with Godly mentors. Integrity is lost when the soul wants to take a short cut. Supportive mentors will help keep us focused on doing what is right before God.

In a moment, without notice, your integrity and morality can go on trial. You won’t have time to prepare a reasonable defense. Your defense will have been crafted by how you have been living.

Integrity matters. Protect it.

Comments

  1. Joe Jackson says

    Great article. I need to be more aware of how my actions speak of my true character. Thanks for the reminder.
    Joe

  2. says

    Hi Craig–WOW that must have felt like an electric shock when she showed up. It’s sad that anyone can accuse us of just about anything at any time–if that doesn’t make us humble it should.

    I’m pretty sure it was Billy Graham who said he never rides in a car with an unattached woman, nor does he ever have a meeting with one behind closed doors alone. Someone else is always present. Integrity is important, but some defensive habits aren’t a bad idea either.

    I think there’s a “B side” to your story as well. We should always be cynical when we hear such accusations leveled against others. One of the favorite “sports” today is following accusations against celebrities, athletes, well known clergy and politicians–people LOVE to jump on that bandwagon and throw stones, as if someone else’s transgressions some how make us more holy or moral (they sure don’t!). The problem with false accusations is that some people will always believe them, mostly because they want to.

    Glad to hear you came through it without issue.

  3. says

    This is what good parents try to teach their children from the moment they can understand. It is nice that your leaders, wife and friends know who you really are. Your parents did their job, now it is time to let it show. As my parents always say, “actions speak louder than words”.

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