Last week I told you about an integrity workshop I facilitated for youth. I was saying what an awesome experience that was and how I pray that our government would invest into more of those so we are intentional about changing the future of our nation’s leaders.
If you missed that, search the Mmegi online and read last week’s article as I don’t want to dwell too much into that today. Today, I want us to talk about what it takes to live lives of integrity.
Every day we are faced with the temptation to do good or bad. In a hurry at the robot, we have to choose whether to sit in the queue and patiently wait our turn or cut people off and run the red light. When a tender is advertised, we have to choose whether to make a deal under the table.
I could go on with choices on whether to steal, lie, bribe, cheat, have extra-marital affairs, etc.. We all know about these temptations because EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US THINK ABOUT GIVING IN TO THESE every single day if we are honest! What stops some people from succumbing? Integrity.
Integrity is a mental choice to do the right thing when no one else is watching, even if no one will ever find out. Let’s look at three characteristics of a person operating with integrity.
Empathy – the intentional decision to put yourself into someone else’s shoes. Let’s say you are the person working at Ministry of Health who is tempted to dip into the funds meant to buy new equipment for the hospital. Millions have been allocated. What does it matter if you give the tender to a friend and you make enough to go on that exotic vacation you have long dreamed of? Here is what empathy does.
You begin to think of the mother who has 3 children who has been diagnosed with cancer and now won’t be able to be treated because the radiation therapy machine is not working. You begin to think of the medical supply company which is spear headed by a man who has taken a loan out against his home to purchase the equipment needed to run his company who needs and deserves this tender, but will lose his home if he continues to be disadvantaged because he isn’t even given a chance. You think of the father who is told the public hospital doesn’t have the chemotherapy drugs needed to save his life. Desperate to take care of his family, he turns to steal – something he would have never considered before but now desperate times call for desperate measures! All of this because you weren’t content with your secure monthly salary and decided to pad your pockets a little more. Empathy allows you to see past yourself and your pocket to the devastating affects your selfish corruption will have on others.
Trustworthy – Do you have a helper in your home that you can trust? I mean you could leave P1,000 pula beside the bed and you know that she would not take it? Or maybe you have a driver who you know won’t take advantage of the car and use it for personal use? Not many are so blessed to have met people like that, but if you are one of these who has met someone like that, you can testify what a peace of mind it gives you to know that person is trustworthy. Can you imagine how efficient our country would be if employees operated with trustworthiness? If everyone who had been entrusted to do a job and oversee a certain resource could be trusted to do that to the best of their ability… can you imagine? If each one of us would begin to choose to do the right thing even when no one is watching, we WOULD have that kind of world! The BIG change starts with ONE person. That person can be you!
Love – Has anyone ever told you to go the extra mile to help your child do well in school, to make sure she is warm at night, or to cook a nice meal for your husband? No! You did that because you LOVE that person! When you love others, you are willing to put their needs above your own. You are willing to act SELFLESSLY because you care about the well-being of someone other than yourself. Imagine if this was applied in every decision of our lives.
Corruption would cease and integrity would prevail if we chose to love one another and treat others the way we would want to be treated.
Above I have listed ideal qualities we could all have, but the fact is to live day in and day out displaying these attributes is HARD, maybe even impossible! I can personally testify that for me, this is only possible when I “die” to myself and let Jesus live. Honestly, I am a selfish person! That is the natural way I think.
I am so thankful that God’s Spirit within me gives me a power I could never have to deny my “fleshly” desires to make my life all about me. I am thankful that when I allow Him, He can love others through me. I am thankful that I fear God so that even on those days when I think no one will ever see what I steal, I am aware He is watching.
I am not perfect, but I can tell you God’s Spirit within me allows me to be a person that I believe can positively contribute to our society.
My prayer is that many more would deny themselves and choose to do things God’s way – not by their strength – but by His power working within them – guiding them to lead lives where they can be trusted with our country’s resources and where they truly act in love towards others and love for the future generation who will have to live with the world we are creating for them by the choices we make and the way we treat people today.
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Ashley Thaba is a popular life coach, Team building facilitator and motivational speaker. She is also the author of Conquering the Giants and Dive In. You can view some of her work on her YouTube channel: Ashley Thaba.