Acting With Integrity

A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.

Proverbs 11:1

We live in a world where everyone seems to be either taking a short cut or attempting to take one. Financially, things have become incredibly tight and the cost of housing, food and essentials have skyrocketed. A trip to the grocery store costs more and you seem to come out with less. I recently strolled the grocery aisles with my wife, and she was explaining to me the rising costs and how something as basic as green onions has doubled in price. Some have used the rise in prices as an excuse to steal, cheat, and be dishonest. When we are buying a used car we want all of the skinny on the vehicle, but if we are selling one, we tend to leave the things that might prohibit the sale off the list of things we share. Living and acting with integrity is what God has called us to do. A false balance (dishonesty) is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight (integrity, honesty) is His delight.

I was attending college and I had met a a fellow classmate in one of my Criminal Justice classes. He was friendly and we had some classes together, so we would often talk about our assignments and shared experiences. We had a paper coming up that required some extensive research, and we were bouncing ideas off of each other and I had finally settled on a subject I was going to explore further. I started doing my research when he reached out to me about a paper I had written for another class. I was going to expound on the paper I had written for that class as I had already done some prior research, and I was intrigued by the subject matter. He asked me more questions about my paper, and I offered to show him the paper I had written. I needed to get to work, so I agreed to just send it to him so he could look at my research for that class.

I thought nothing more about it and I began to research for my final paper. I used some of my old resources I had already used, but dug a little deeper in my research. My friend liked my paper and thanked me for sharing as it gave him some ideas on which direction he wanted to go in his research. I had a solid A in that class, and I was confident in my research and my paper. I turned in my paper and I fully expected to end the class with a high A, which excited me as I sought to gain honors when I graduated. I checked every day for my grade to post but it was not posted as quickly as I thought. I grew wearisome until one day my grade posted and it read an “F”. I was shocked as I thought it was one of my better papers but apparently my teacher did not. I wrote him and asked him if he would clarify, and he wrote back and told me he found a similar sentence and sources in my paper that were closely tied to another student in the class. He accused me of cheating and thus, had given me a failing grade.

I used a couple of sentences in my closing paragraph of a paper I had written in my previous class and used them in my opening paragraph in this class. My sources were listed as well, and I then remembered sharing that paper with a fellow classmate. We were both scheduled to speak with the dean and my Spring semester classes were placed on hold pending the investigation. I was livid with my classmate, and I wanted to square up with him at the flag pole. I entered my hearing with the dean, and my fellow classmate confessed that he had used my whole paper in this class and only changed the name at the top and claimed the work as his own. I was exonerated from any discipline and my grade was restored to an A. I had been cheated as someone took my hard work as their own. I am glad my classmate owned up to it, but it cost him the class and he was expelled from school. As I look back on that incident, I cannot be too mad as I too have cheated others or not always been fully honest in my dealings.

God hates when we are deceptive but He delights when we are honest. We expect others to be honest with us, but we sometimes do not hold ourselves to that same standard. Where are you today in your dealings with your fellow man? Do you seek to take advantage of others? Do you try to wrongly tip the scales in your favor? Do you give a false balance to gain an advantage? Is God delighted in your interactions with others? God will not be mocked, and we will reap what we sow. May we bring delight to our God by acting with integrity in all of our actions, and may we do right no matter how tight things become. God sees and knows all, and may honesty be the fabric of our very character.

Stay in the Fight!

Leave a Comment