Integrity - Solomon Star News


22 August 2017

Welcome to our discussion and this week we will look at the topic “Integrity” under our main theme “The essentials of Life.” In the light of recent developments of sacking and termination of high profile officers within the public service, I believe, this is a topic worth looking at for our discussion.

In all our media outlets the discussion of the day is about leaders’ misused of public funds, taking the law into their own hands; participating in, even leading illegal activities and partaking in corrupt practices. Our leaders appear to have made choices that have resulted in their loss of credibility and integrity.

Integrity is the heart of character. It builds trust, has high influence and values, facilitates the setting for high standards, and creates solid reputation rather than just image. This means it must be exemplified in the leader’s life before he or she can lead others with credibility rather than cleverness!

A leader must have integrity so that people can trust him or her enough to follow. Theodore Roosevelt once said that a tramp will steal a ride on a railroad car, but if you send him to college and educate him, he will steal the railroad! It is a matter of the heart that is where the change has to take place.

The word “integrity” implies wholeness and coherence. It is also suggests rightness, a sense of moral soundness. A leader’s conscience must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s voice. He/ she needs to evaluate matters in line with Scripture, seeking justice where necessary, seeking godly conduct, words, and attitude. A leader must be known to be a person of integrity. True leaders exemplify high ethics in the way they conduct themselves and how they fulfil their responsibilities. The leader ensures that the organisation is known for its high standards of ethics.

If leaders are careless about basic things, telling the truth, respecting moral codes, exemplifying proper professional conduct, then who can believe them on other issues? I know several well-known Christian organisations that do not practice ethics, let alone Christian ethics, a sad condition for them. This matter of integrity reveals the true and real character of a leader and the organisation he/she works for. Integrity is doing the right thing, no matter how inconvenient, unpopular or painful it may be.

A true leader will not use people as a means for his or her own personal gain. The leader will be able to justify his/her actions, if necessary, using Scripture wisely and properly to support him/her. The leader will think, talk and act as though others are watching because they are. If you have difficulties in deciding whether you should do something or not, ask yourself some questions, Should I do this if it were to be broadcasted on the news or published in the newspaper? How would you evaluate what you are doing if it were your worst enemy doing it instead? And, what would be the result if one of your competitors, superiors, or subordinates were to do the same thing?

Integrity does not lend itself to compromise. Integrity requires that the only real purpose of any thought, word or deed is to build persons or things, in order to accomplish positive and ethical results.

A true leader can maintain calm, as the calm in the “eye” of the hurricane that is unleashing its energy. The strength of a hurricane depends on how the winds are focussed on the “eye”. If the eye is not good, the whole system will weaken. The model has to be good at the core, at the centre. The “eye” is the centre of calm creativity that unleashes the energy on the outside. The deep core values, integrity, and qualities of a leader should be evidenced as he occupies this “eye” position.

Integrity is one of several paths. It distinguishes itself from others because it is the right path, and the only one upon which you will never get lost. When a leader has integrity, he/she will not abuse his position of authority. He/she no longer has the right to do whatever he/she wants to do. His/her rights decrease as his/her responsibilities increase; because he/she must exemplify godly character.

Integrity must increase as the responsibilities of a leader increases. This process is crucial. If it does not happen, the result will be an organisation with low standards, values, morals and ethics. This is exactly what we see today with our public service system. Too often this process of increasing integrity does not occur. Sometimes this process [or lack of it] is considered to be a cultural rather than a character issue. Yet Scripture does not endorse the “thinking” that the lack of integrity is only a cultural issue.

Honesty and integrity should be the cornerstone of our leadership style. Lincoln’s reputation for absolute honesty gave him an edge with other people. They might disagree with him, but they couldn’t question his integrity. There is not a recorded instance of Lincoln telling a lie or deliberately deceiving anyone. People at the time, of course, referred to him as Honest Abe. Honesty is one of the best ways to strengthen anyone’s reputation. Lincoln was straightforward in his dealings with others and avoided double-dealing and malicious manipulation. As a result, he always had the support and loyalty of those who could help him most.

The need to live with integrity arises from the fact that we are called by a faithful God. His character is one of steadfast love and faithfulness, grace and truth, love and light. If we have come to know him, then we are called to express those same qualities, to walk in a way worthy of that calling, to live in conformity with his character.

By Rev. Eric D. Maefonea