Growing up all my friends wanted to chill with MacGuyver. He was the good guy, a real man, the true hero. He didn’t do things for money or reward but just because they needed to be done. He didn’t boast, he just quietly got on with the job. He didn’t lie, cheat or steal, and he never once took advantage of the women who threw themselves at him, not once. He was the most honest, trustworthy person on tv at the time.
There’s a man I know who’s a pretty quiet kind of person. Some people mistake his quietness for lack of passion. Those who know him even a little bit though understand that he is a man of strong beliefs, conviction and passion. He is probably on of the most passionate people I have met, in his own quiet way. He is uniquely quiet, but in his own way uniquely loud.
When I first met this man somebody described him this way: “He is the same inside and out, wherever he goes and whatever he does. What you see is what you get.” His actions speak loudly about him, because he does not act to impress humans but out of response to God. He doesn’t seek to draw attention to himself by doing things for accolades either, but rather simply because they are the right thing to do. My friend is consistently the same in word and deed. What he believes, he also lives. I’ve observed him closely for years now and have decided he is one of my most respected friends, but he wouldn’t know it or even care. My respect isn’t as important to him as his own self-respect. God has called us all to this type of simple integrity.
I am challenged everyday to try and emulate this quality in a world that lacks it. It is a quality that nobody can deny is a desirable one, and an almost essential one to gain respect or trust. In the workforce for instance there is nothing I appreciate more in someone than integrity. Ability and skill is a good thing to have, but if someone lacks it I can still appreciate them as a person. However, if someone has no integrity I don’t want to work with them because I can’t trust or respect them. I would rather work with someone who is not good at their job, than someone who is dishonest and untrustworthy.
My like my friends style because he goes about he’s job quietly and without complaint, but when the moment requires it he will call a spade a spade. I have realised over time that this is the way to go. There is an old saying about flatulence that says that it is “better out than in”, meaning that holding a fart in causes it to build into something potentially harmful. I think the same can be said for negative sentiment or viewpoints. To be upfront about the way we feel demonstrates integrity because it is truthful. Unfortunately, the only negative sentiments expressed are often said when the people who need to hear them aren’t around. Gossip is an ugly cousin to honesty because even when it is factual it is not expressed in the open. Morally it is the same as lying.
I was recounting a fairly unbelievable occurrence to someone who would not normally believe it. The story related to the supernatural and the miraculous, and was something that I had witnessed firsthand. The friend who was asking about the occurrence had no belief in the supernatural realm, but they believed me about the miracle I had witnessed. I was surprised when they believed me, but was especially surprised when they told me that the reason they believed me was simply because I had told them. They went on to say in their own way that they trusted me because in the time they’d known me they had never seen me lie, and that they knew that I valued truth and honesty. I was internally blown away by this compliment and made a commitment to God that it was a track record I wanted to with his help continue to protect.
Integrity takes a long-time to establish, but it can be undone in two seconds. Gossiping is one way that someone shows a lack of character, lying and stealing are other ways. Speaking or acting with an agenda or motive other than what is being presented is probably the most common way that people show a lack of integrity in the workforce, and often they don’t even realise they are doing.
Truth, authenticity, genuineness, keeping-it-real, every human values these things though we all find it hard to practice when we’re together. However, they are character traits that resonate with the core of our beings, the internal part that has been put there by God that loves and longs for truth.
Nothing speaks louder about the preciousness of integrity than the inner shame we feel when we compromise it. No amount of accolades can replace the ability to look in the mirror and see an honest person looking back. No amount of success can replace the feeling of knocking off work having worked an honest day’s labour. No amount of money can buy the security that comes with being somebody with integrity “…for what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36)
Integrity shuts people up, even our fiercest enemy. A lack of integrity though, makes us vulnerable to all kinds of accusations. The Bible says that “…whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out…” (Proverbs 10:9). How precious and desirable is my friends reputation and character? It is more precious than gold!
The world is full of compromise and work can be at times stressful, tiring and downright hard. The culture and environment around you might beckon you to compromise. The temptation in a crowd of people is to join in with what they are doing. Don’t. Instead of gossiping, resist and only say about people what you are willing to say to them. Instead of cutting corners, do extra work. Instead of pretending to be something you’re not, be open about your strengths and flaws. Instead of having a hidden agenda seek to do things simply because they are right, then your conduct, reputation and work will speak for itself.
Let’s face it, that’s why we wanted to work with MacGuyver growing up, not just for the explosions.
Okay, I’ll be honest now… it was mostly for the explosions.