Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The path of least resistence

When I think of the word integrity, I think of the title statement of this post. "The Path of the Least Resistance." Now why would I think of this phrase? Doesn't this phrase describe the opposite of Integrity? Well yes it does. But that's what I think of when I think of Integrity because so often people choose the path of the least resistance rather than maintaining high integrity. Integrity is always challenged. Integrity is always at risk. Usually our integrity is challenged when we face choices. Do we go this way or that? Do we do what's right, or do we compromise? A persons integrity defines his or her character. A person with high integrity is trustworthy, they are always honest, they can be depended upon to do what they say and follow through. A person with integrity doesn't seek gain at others expense. They merit themselves on their own weight, their own effort.

I wanted to study this word integrity and see what high integrity looks like at work, because so many of us are engaged in the work place and we can relate to these issues. Often even when we think we have high integrity, we can be surprised to see that maintaining integrity is not easy, and even more so when pressure comes. Whatever pressure is being applied will almost always takes the path of least resistance. Integrity however, goes against this. When pressure is applied, people with integrity do what's right even though it's going to be tough to do so. When the pressure comes to cheat, people with integrity take a stand and pass, taking the path of hard work and study to accomplish their desired result. Many times people with integrity stand out because they are going a way that others don't. They don't take the path of least resistance if it doesn't marry up with their core values and beliefs.

I guess that's the key isn't it? Values and beliefs! How we act is determined from our value system and our beliefs. Respect for others, honesty, self control, humility, compassion all are values that are taught and learned. Let's look at how our integrity can be challenged at work.

  • Calling in sick... are you really? Could you have gone in today, or did you just not feel like it?

  • Did you pay for that pen, that note pad, that supply, or did you take it from work and now your using it at home.

  • Are you working the hours that you say you are?

  • Are you taking longer breaks than allowed?

  • Are you cheating with your time in some way to pad your paycheck?

  • Do you take your own test?

  • Do you do you own work?

  • Do you take credit for what others do to get the recognition?

  • Do you admit your mistakes even when the Boss is going to be mad when they find out?

  • What about your meal and travel expenses, are they accurate?

  • Do you give it your best while at work, or do you look for ways to sluff off?

  • Are you committed?

  • Do you talk about people behind their back?

  • Do you participate in gossip around the water cooler or in the break room?

  • Do you take shortcuts in policies or procedures to save time?

  • Do you say you did something when you really didn't just to get off the report?

These of course are not an all inclusive list of things that challenge us to go against our integrity. You can probably think of many more. But you get the point. Even when I think my integrity is good, I'm reminded that it's can always be better. Our integrity is something that we must constantly be working on. It's a lifestyle, it's a way of life. It should be something we honor and uphold even when no one else is looking or sees what we do. It's a behavior that defines who we are.

I'll leave you with a few verses that define integrity and what God says about this issue of integrity. For our integrity to be all that God expects it to be, we need to be aware of and living according to His word. We need to ask God to give us the strength to always remain high in integrity. God's promise is a life of blessings if we keep our integrity pure.

Proverbs 12:22 The Lord detests lying lips, but delights in men who are truthful.

1 Timothy 5:14 Give the enemy no opportunity for slander.

Genesis 18:19 Keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just.

Romans 14:22 Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves.

Proverbs 11:1 The Lord abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight.

Proverbs 21:3 To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

Acts 24:16 I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.

Philippians 4:8 Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.

The biblical example of integrity points to consistency between our belief and our behavior. Consistency between our words and our actions. Consistency between our values and our practice. We need to let our integrity show in what we do every day. We need to seek God's ability to have integrity in all situations that we face.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the example of integrity you gave us through your Son Jesus. Thank you for the direction and commandments that you give us in your word. We are without excuse to have high integrity if we have made you our Lord. Help us to be obedient and allow Your Holy Spirit to choose for us the right way, the right path when faced with choices that can hurt our integrity. We ask this all in the precious name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen

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