There is no doubt in my mind that in today’s world with so much around us it is hard to maintain our integrity, without feeling that we are not “cool” according to our peers (and even some of our friends).
Integrity is about our individual character. It means telling the truth even if we can get away without doing so. Integrity is about doing the right thing when people can see and hear us, and even more so when we know no one can. Knowing that we have a clear conscience should be more important than profiting from knowing we got away with a lie. Sometimes I look at it this way – integrity means “keeping it real.”
Let’s use a scenario as an example of how integrity affects our everyday lives. If a first-year university student has a goal to do his best grade-wise, and you see him cheat on an exam to get an A+, how does this affect him in the bigger picture of life? When we cheat ourselves, we in turn gamble our integrity. When we cheat ourselves, we deny our true, good-natured selves. In a way, we are telling the world that we are someone we are not… and sooner than later, we’ll lose sight of our true self. You’ll discover that your friends aren’t really your friends because they don’t know the real you, and this will hurt. In the case of the student who cheated, deep down he’ll know those grades are not his, but rather the guy who is selling homework out of his locker.
I believe that living with integrity is committing yourself to being honest and making the right choices, even when the right choice doesn’t benefit you. When tempted to say a white lie or stretch the truth, think twice! When faced with the consequence of something you have lied about, own up to it. If your group of friends are talking badly about someone, change the subject, walk away, or if you feel inclined to – tell your friends that what they’re doing isn’t something you want to be part of.
Without integrity, we are unauthentic versions of ourselves. We are denying ourselves the ability to be the true, good-natured person, who lives in the image of Christ, that we are meant to be.
written by Theodore Kontoravdis, Member