Integrity: The Mark of a Christian
By DANNY MINTON
Every Olympics has controversy, and the 2012 Olympics followed the same path. That year, six badminton players were disqualified for “sandbagging” to get an easier opponent in the next round. One country’s soccer coach told his team not to score to secure an easier draw for their next opponent. In a volleyball match, a player allowed the referee to make the wrong call even though he knew the official was incorrect not to lose a point.
Unfortunately, these types of actions present nothing new to sports. I’ve seen local golfers play their round badly so they can get in a lower flight in a tournament and have a better chance of winning. I played racquetball with a guy who let us win to drop down to a lower bracket against weaker opponents.
We’ve seen football kickers fake getting hit to try and draw a penalty, and receivers act like they’ve been interfered with and players holding in the middle of the line hoping they won’t get caught.
The stock answers are “everyone does it” or “it’s all part of the game.” People convince themselves that it’s okay if you don’t get caught.
Unfortunately, many people today fall into the trap of watering down truthfulness and integrity. Not realizing the consequences, the same attitude passes down to those who look upon us as examples. The picture shown is that getting away with cheating outweighs showing integrity.
Since when did “everyone else” cheating make it acceptable? When did breaking the rules become a “part of the game”? Is winning and getting ahead more important than being a trustworthy individual?
In the middle of a playoff, Bobby Jones saw his ball move slightly but move nonetheless. He called the officials over as well as the other players. No one wanted to call it a penalty because no one saw it but Jones. In the end, a penalty resulted, and Jones continued to play. When complimented on his integrity, he said, “that’s the only way I know how to play the game.”
Integrity is more than just telling the truth. Integrity is being trustworthy. It’s what your name stands for and how people view you as a person. A genuine person of character and integrity shows honesty even when it hurts; his word has proven him to be trusted; his actions are free from ulterior motives.
Kevin was playing second base when the runner slid into the base, and the umpire called him out. Kevin quickly looked at the ump and said, “I didn’t touch him.” The umpire changed his mind and called the runner safe. A few weeks later, at another game with the same umpire, Kevin was running and slid into the bag, and the umpire called him out. Kevin looked at the umpire and said, “I was safe.” The umpire changed his mind and called Kevin safe. The opposing coach came storming out of the dugout and questioned how the ump could listen to a nine-year-old and call him safe. The umpire looked at the coach and proclaimed, “I know Kevin. He has never lied to me before, and I have no reason to doubt his word.”
One of the main traits of a Christian is to be a person of integrity, without which we won’t have the trust of the world we are trying to reach with the Gospel. The only way to be a faithful Christian shows itself by striving to be men and women of character, people of integrity.
According to the writer of Proverbs 14, our integrity directly affects how we respect God. “Whoever fears the LORD walks uprightly, but those who despise him are devious in their ways.” Proverbs 14:2 (NIV2011)
Ask yourself, “Am I a person of integrity, even when no one else is looking?”
Danny Minton is an Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ