Choose Integrity

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I had to read this quote a couple of times to fully understand it… Amazing the depths to which one can fall, and still ‘survive’, perhaps we need to light up the darkness and find higher aspirations, both personally and as a nation.

Don’t fall for low integrity, strive for greatness, and it will come to you.

“The depth of darkness to which you can descend and still live is an exact measure of the height to which you can aspire to reach.”

― Pliny the Elder

Many years ago, I had a very negative experience due to the bad choices of a fellow business associate. At the time, I vowed never to stoop to such low behavior, never to give up my own integrity for money, as he had done, and more importantly, to never abuse my position and others, for personal gain. I’ve maintained that standard for nearly 40 years of professional living since then… Not changing it now.

The point is, I entered ‘the zone’ where I was exposed once again to that low grade acumen, under misrepresentation, again. At first, I considered the option, thinking, “You know, it’s been a long time, there’s been a change in regimen, and life changes people. Maybe it is different now than I remember? It’s possible, right?”

I knew the people involved, and one is a very good friend, whom I truly believe is living his integrity… The problem isn’t him. It’s a bigger, more intrusive issue, and I know there are many ‘innocent people’ following the bigger program.

My struggle goes beyond my own personal choice to maintain a boundary for myself. Reporting the incident, making it well known can end the careers of some prominent people, in ways they will be held accountable for their actions, and for their leadership.

In a day and time when national leaders are allowed to slide on their lack of integrity, even to evade accountability and LEGAL CONVICTION due to the money in their pockets, this power to end careers over a code of ethics violation rather than an illegal act, seems extreme. But to me, it’s a matter of personal integrity. 

integrityWhen I saw the quote above, this morning, I considered the discussion I’d had yesterday with one of my most trusted friends, over the event that preceded this discussion. Where does my integrity and personal responsibility end, and other people’s choices begin?

I had to read this a couple of times to fully understand it… Amazing the depths to which one can fall, and still ‘survive’, perhaps we need to light up the darkness and find higher aspirations, both personally and as a nation.

Don’t fall for low integrity, strive for greatness, and it will come to you.

“The depth of darkness…”

How much darkness can I live with? How much darkness am I willing to tolerate in my life? And more… How much am I willing to accept as ‘other people’s choices’ when I could have and should have done something to brighten the path?

“…to which you can descend and still live…”

If I allow the darkness to continue, without shining a light on what is wrong, the ethical violation that is taking place and involving innocent people, I’m living with it… Why would I choose to allow that much more darkness to invade my life? If I do nothing about the situation I encountered, am I not allowing the darkness to become bigger, more intrusive, and more established in the world around me? If I don’t stand up and fight the darkness by shining a light on it, bringing the light to the people who are innocent in their desire to live, then somehow it becomes my fault when they fail due to the overwhelming and pervasive darkness. And there, is where I realize that it’s more than just my choosing not to participate in the underhanded behaviors that bring on the darkness.

“…is an exact measure of the height to which you can aspire to reach.”

In order to live my life to the fullness I desire, I must light up the darkness and accept nothing less than God’s light in my life. I must shine brightly on the invading darkness of others, making the pervasive light prevalent, in order to brighten the paths, expanding the levels to which I can aspire.

llightIn answer to one of the greatest questions ever asked, “Yes, Lord, I am my brother’s keeper. It is my duty, as one saved by the Grace of God, to share the LIGHT of the Lord, my Savior, with others, and keep it shining brightly to lift others up to Him.”

That my friends is the great commission.

In business, it is my duty, when I see wrong to shine a light on it, and help to bring those doing wrong to justice, or at least into the light, so they can be held accountable, preventing the demise and failure of others.

Choose integrity.

Here are some steps to follow if you find yourself in this situation:

1 – Recognize the situation. Be aware, alert, and knowledgeable of ethical standards within your industry, and hold any variations up to the light of those standards.

2 – Acknowledge the violation. Once you recognize the violation, acknowledge it, face it, and understand what it is that is being violated, and how.

3 – Verify the violation. Make sure you haven’t misunderstood or misinterpreted the violation. It is possible for people to make mistakes, and if that’s happened, invite them to correct their mistake first.

4 – Shed a light on the misconduct. Show it to those who need to know. If there is leadership, bring it to their attention.

5 – Do all these things prayerfully, with consideration of those involved, but don’t allow your own integrity to be compromised.

Sometimes the ‘what you have to do’ is bigger than you want it to be, and that is the case with this situation. I’m struggling with the choices that have to be made, and although the simple answer for my personal benefit has already been made, there are many other things to consider, as to what I should do to prevent others from being unduly influenced. I’m not perfect, and I’ve made many wrong choices in my life, so making an accusation against someone else’s personal choices required extra consideration. The concern I have, is that if I don’t make a choice, there will be others injured due to my inactive approach to this situation. That I can’t bear.

As a friend suggested last night, consider what will be in five years, dependent on my personal choice. And that, precisely that, is why I will be speaking to those in leadership to find solutions for this issue. It is also why I often go the extra mile to protect those who may not know, when I know an ethical violation has happened.

Yes. I am my brother’s keeper.

brothers

 

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