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A Call to Integrity in Society

What is your definition of integrity? And do you think integrity is something achievable or a mere pipe dream? For the society to embrace integrity, it calls for personal responsibility on your part and mine. The call to integrity fast starts with you.

Once you get the gist of it, you have the responsibility of transferring it to your family. Family is the smallest unit of a society. From the family units, we can transfer integrity to the entire society fabric.

A Friend’s Testimony on Integrity

A wonderful friend whom I will call Jack once visited a learning institution armed with tender documents to seek a hand in the tender bidding process.

Jack was born in Western Kenya but lives and makes his ends meet in Nairobi. Apparently, it wasn’t his business venture applying for the tender deal but his uncle’s.

Jack was helping his uncle by dropping the application documents for tender at the designated institution.

Jack walks into the institution in the mid-morning hours at about 9:00 AM. At the office where he is to submit the tender documents, he finds a line of other tenderpreneurs also lined up hoping to get a share of the pie.

A Doctored Tender Process

One by one, each person gets to go through the due process. Once they verify your documents, down you deposit your tender documents and off you leave.

Like the lawful chap he is, Jack stands at the queue patiently till his turn comes. But he keeps having this eerie feeling something isn’t right.

Given the social person he is, Jack immediately strikes a conversation with the tender officer and it suddenly hits the roof like they had known each other for ages.

The Call to Integrity Dilemma

Well, the typical Jack is known for being curious about things and about everything.

Deep down, Jack feels the tender bidding process could all be a formality. He thinks the tender board will issue the tender out unilaterally to one applicant.

All this is an internal monologue running in his mind until he pops up the question of the day to the tender officer.

And on Jack goes, “Do you think the tender application process is fair and transparent?” The tender officer responds, “What do you expect?” He pauses. “Do you expect it to be fair?”

He continues to which Jack responds to the contrary. Frankly, the tender officer gives Jack an answer to suggest that life is all about cutting corners and if you aren’t cutting any, then you are at the tail end.

Until we see the call to integrity as a personal responsibility, we shall not achieve the war on eradicating it from society.

To drive his point home, the officer pauses to Jack a question, “In campus, weren’t their guys who used to cheat during exams?” 

Jack responds in the affirmative but says he wasn’t among them. The officer then shoots him a question of comparison.

“Where are they and where are you know?” Jack smiles at the question and maintains an honest path. Whatever their level of success or affluence they have, Jack insists he would still walk the honest path.

In the mainstream media, news is not just news if it’s not bad news. For instance, dishonest headlines that affect our integrity have bedecked our news headlines in the recent past.

Some headlines the media bombard us with include:

Government failing to halt upsurge in graft”

Rotich Corruption case a first in Kenya”

“US blames corruption for slowing down foreign investment in Kenya.”

For such a great nation like Kenya to lower down her values to this level, one is left wondering where the rains started beating us. Are our religious leaders zealous on the call to integrity in the society today.

For such a great nation like Kenya to lower down her values to this level, one is left wondering where the rains started beating us.

It’s only in 2017, that a report by Transparency international classified Kenyans as “willing to pay bribes to access key services.”

The Integrity Issue in Society

In our daily living, life floods us with many opportunities to lie, cheat, and steal.

Unfortunately, moral values in our society today have decayed to the point of someone selling you meat laced with inhumane chemicals without having a pricked conscience.

Today, the maxim is: steal, cheat, and lie as long as you don’t get caught. It’s like something only becomes wrong when you get caught.

The milk vendor lies right to your face about how fresh their milk is. What about the cloth sewer who gives you empty promises on your cloth material?

It has suddenly become very easy to speak the white lie without blinking an eye.

What of the contractor who promises you pure gold on your building project only to deliver shoddiness?

The dishonest culture is getting so deep that even the few good left are made to appear bad. Nevertheless, we should not relent to our call to integrity in society today.

Similarly, promises nowadays are emptier and unfulfilled that any other time in history.

What makes men today to find pleasure in being dishonest, lying, and give promises they know they wouldn’t deliver. 

Well, you could say they cutting corners to make ends meet, evade a tax regulation or they are on a get rich quick scheme. Above all else, they want to protect their interests.

A Biblical Perspective

Whatever background you come from or philosophies you hold onto, allow me to shift your perspective about the larger issue surrounding honesty and integrity.

In the Bible, we had the nation of Israel that was once enslaved in North African country called Egypt.

And when the good Lord had delivered them and set them free from their captors, they began their journey to the Promised Land.

After much turbulence, oppositions and wars, the Israelites finally settled in the promised land.

The Lord began setting new rules that would define and govern the birth and beginning of a new nation called Israel. 

That said, the Lord set 10 commandments for them. From the commandments, we see that the element of cheating, lying, and stealing do not fail to arise. Committing adultery, stealing, and bearing false witness against thy neighbor were all forbidden.

Regrettably, society has got all these upside down. I know we are not living in a perfect world. Neither are Christians the only people in the world.

However, the bottom line is, there have to be guiding principles that dictate or govern the moral fabric of society.

For instance, if we get down to the using the Bible as our centerpiece, Jesus questions a dishonest steward in Luke 16;11-12. “So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?  

And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?

Admittedly, if Christ were to ask this question again, a majority would fall guilty.

The Million Dollar Call

It’s high time we reevaluated our values and be honest. Another verse you would want to put into perspective is in the book of Luke 10:16.

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”

What is it you are looking for in life and you have less of it? The wisdom Christ dispenses here is that if you are faithful in the little, you have or in your stewardship over a little of something, he will entrust you with much more.

My utmost appeal goes to our leaders and civil servants entrusted with enormous public resources.

To the producers of goods and services and to every person who values personal relationships that we can make a fundamental change towards the honest path.

Supporting the truth, even when it is unpopular, shows the capacity for honesty and integrity. Steve Brunkhorst 

Final Words

Cutting corners could be the easiest thing to do. This is especially true when most of your friends and acquaintances have fallen short of the integrity bar. But I believe you are with me on this. Let’s push the integrity bar higher. The call to integrity is everybody’s responsibility.

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