What About Honor and Integrity?

Earlier in the history of America, many thousands of dollars were committed to others with simply a handshake or the giving of their word. One was expected to do exactly what he said he would do! This is directly related to respect for the teachings of Jesus, and the Old Testament (see Proverbs 19:1). In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reproved many of the Jewish people of the day for their hypocrisy. Some would make elaborate vows, but they were made without any real intent to keep them. Jesus said for us to "...Let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil" (Matthew 5:37). If one has no intention to do what they agreed to do, no vow or agreement will change that. The Christian will make every effort to do whatever he/she agreed to do, even if it costs them dearly. It should not shock or surprise us today when the average American will lie in order to profit by it. Those who are elected to our highest offices today regularly and knowingly lie to the nation publicly! For example, "I did not have sex with that woman." Or, "If you like your insurance [or doctor] you can keep your insurance." President Richard Nixon earned the sobriquet "Tricky Dick" because of his dirty politics. His missteps seem almost moral compared to the deceit of our current crop of politicians today!

 Today America would be great again if we all attempted to follow the precepts taught by Jesus. His Sermon on the Mount has the greatest moral lessons to be found anywhere. Hypocrisy is condemned, humility is exalted. Today it seems as if so many want profit and adulation of others rather than God exalting them. The Beatitudes contain great lessons for mankind. The very first Beatitude sets the tone for all the others, as well as true greatness. Listen to it, "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3). This clear statement of humility flies in the face of the moderns. They would say blessed are the PROUD in spirit! The arrogant leaders of Jesus' day were clearly condemned (Matthew 6:1-8; see also the entire 23rd chapter of Matthew). Humility demands honor and integrity. In Act 1 of Hamlet, Shakespeare has Polonius say,

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!

These words echo the teachings of Jesus as one who, when true to himself cannot be false to others. However, we see much of the opposite! As a Christian, we must always honor God by doing our best not to make frivolous agreements, but when we agree to something, to do exactly as we have agreed to do. Our nation is great because it was founded upon these great principles of the Bible. Although the framers of our Declaration of Independence and Constitution were not necessarily Christians in the true sense, they honored Jesus and the Bible in their conversation and correspondence. The corruption and perversion of our current generation of politicians and our very culture offer a vivid commentary on how far we have departed from these principles!

 The prophet Jeremiah (6:15, 8:12) describes a generation who "...were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the Lord..."(Jeremiah 6:15). I fear our current generation has reached that same state!

 Ed Rodgers, Forney, TX