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Yes, Virginia, There is Still Integrity | Mary Biever | One Writing Mother

Yes, Virginia, There is Still Integrity

Dear Virginia,

Some people in this world encourage us to think integrity is a term of the past, and that the world we live in is too grey for basic moral standards. I am here to tell you that we can still choose to do the right thing.

Sometimes, the decisions we make really are a choice between doing what is right and either doing what is wrong or sitting back and saying nothing when something we know is wrong is being done.

Choosing the honest path can be difficult. As Saint Thomas More wrote, “Tribulation is a gift from God that He gives to his special friends.” So if you are chosen to take this path in a difficult way keep the long view that good things can come from your struggle.

Those who seek to compromise your integrity may try all sorts of things to stop you. Here are common tactics used:

  • Appeal to compassion and pity. They will try to convince you that if you follow your conscience you are mean or heartless. Use this appeal to think through a way to make honest decisions with compassion.
  • Appeal to the crowd. They will tell you everyone else is ok with making a decision that violates your conscience. “Everybody else does it” neither is nor will be a reason to compromise your integrity. If this tactic is used with you, recognize it and resolve that doing the right thing is not a popularity contest. Saint Thomas More, who died for his convictions, also wrote, “If honor were profitable, everyone would be honorable.”
  • Make you question yourself. You will be told that you are confused, or misunderstand circumstances. When this tactic is used, use it to do your homework and make sure you have a logical basis for your choices and actions.
  • Bully you. You may be bullied or threatened. This could be a sign that you really are doing the right thing. Don’t cave to it.
  • Harass those you love. This tactic was recently used by someone trying to stop me from doing the right thing. Hold firm to your course. In my case, it backfired and resulted in enlightening others that what I was doing was right.

At every step you make on an honest path, when you are faced with choices, do so with prayerful discernment.

Then you may make a stand for what is right and see that temporal justice does not prevail. Take heart. God may have called you to push a rock up a hill, but He didn’t call you to move it. He will move it in His time and in His plan which we may never see nor understand. When you take the path of integrity, the important battle in your own soul is won.

When you choose the path of integrity, at the end of that path, you will discover something wonderful. It’s not the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

It is instead the strength that comes from living by the courage of your convictions. There is a sense of accomplishment and also a relief.  As a French proverb reminds us, “There is no pillow so soft as a clear conscience.”

 


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