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Published:January 31st, 2011 22:06 EST
Integrity Comes Through An Act of Will Power

Integrity Comes Through An Act of Will Power

By Ignatius Fernandez

An honest man is the noblest work of God.  Alexander Pope.

The great wall of China is a gigantic structure which cost much money and took much labor to construct. It looked impregnable when finished. But the enemy breached it, not by tearing it down or digging a tunnel under it, but by bribing the gatekeepers. Nothing is safe where there is corruption; where integrity is missing. Our children are not safe in a home where honesty is compromised.

We are blind to our faults, but will notice and accuse others of the slightest weakness. We shut our eyes to the many half truths that occupy our lives, because deep down we are corrupt, without wanting to acknowledge our guilt. In such a situation, what happens to our children? They see how we live our double standards - preaching honesty but practicing dishonesty in our personal and professional lives. What will our children choose to do? What is convenient; what brings them material gains. So, they too make compromises. They too become corrupt like us.

In the Gospels we meet three dishonest people who give up their dishonest ways. They give us hope - it is possible; it only calls for an act of will. Mathew the tax collector, collected taxes for the Romans but kept for himself the extras he extracted from helpless traders. Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector, was a known defrauder. The thief who was crucified to the right of Jesus on Calvary had many acts of dishonesty to his debit. Yet, the three repented, touched by Jesus. The first two changed their ways and lived better lives. The thief stole his way into Paradise.

Mistakenly we believe that dishonesty is limited to money transactions. Cancer like, it spreads to other areas of our lives. We are dishonest when we do not work enough to justify the wage we receive. We are dishonest when we lie, exaggerate or falsify information, for personal gain. The list is endless. Dishonesty in any form erodes character. We are less than we think we are.

We hope to leave our children a legacy of riches. Why not try leaving them a legacy of honesty?