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The Cost and Value of Integrity | Mary Biever | One Writing Mother

The Cost and Value of Integrity

“You’ve lost your head over nothing,” someone ranted at me this spring as I made a difficult decision.

Sometimes, the cost of integrity is higher than others. Being honest sometimes has a material cost – it can be more expensive short term to follow the rules and do things right.

Other times, there is a personal cost. To follow our conscience, we occasionally make tough choices that cost us relationships.

St. Thomas More did lose his head over his integrity five hundred years ago. King Henry VIII usurped Church lands and authority in his quest to get a divorce and marry Anne Boleyn. More resigned his position as Chancellor of England and refused to acknowledge Henry VIII as the head of the Church of England.

More attempted to rely on a diplomatic course to hold to his conscience but not publicly oppose the king. As he wrote his daughter while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London, “I am, said I, the King’s true faithful subject…and pray for his Highness and all his and all the realm. I do no­body harm, I say none harm, I think none harm, but wish everybody good.”

Sometimes the problem with keeping your integrity lies in those around you who do not keep their own. The king wanted More’s approval and lashed out against him for his refusal to compromise. 

Despite pressure from the king, his peers, his friends, and his family, More held steadfast in following his conscience. He was tried and convicted of treason and was beheaded. Before he died, More said, “I die the king’s faithful servant, but God’s first.”

This spring, I learned the high price integrity can cost. More’s example sustained me and reminded me to find solace and strength in my own faith.

Seventeen years ago, I converted to the Catholic faith. On Easter Vigil, I made my first communion and was confirmed. It was important to me at the time, but I didn’t realize how profoundly it would change my life. As I affirmed my faith in Jesus Christ with my whole heart, my Confirmation truly made an indelible mark on my soul.

St. Ambrose described this as “the Spirit of wisdom of understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and piety… Christ the Lord confirmed you and placed the Spirit in your hearts as a pledge.”

Now, I realize that my faith is what gave me the strength to pay a high cost for my own integrity.

And I realized that sometimes when we pay a high cost to take the path of integrity, we learn that the value of our integrity is priceless.

One Response to “The Cost and Value of Integrity”

  1. Kory March 8, 2017 at 11:18 pm #

    Sharp thingink! Thanks for the answer.

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