I was flipping through my Personal Progress book on Sunday, and a particular “experience” (Integrity #3) really stuck out to me. I don’t know why, exactly. Usually, I think, “yeah, that one should be easy enough right now.” or “um, I should probably work on that one.” or something to that effect. But they don’t usually hit a chord. This one did. So I’ve been working on it this morning. Instead of writing it down in my journal, the thought came to me that I should put it on the blog. It says share your experience, so I guess this is a good way to share it.
The funny thing is, when the instructions said to think about a time that I showed integrity and it was not easy or popular, a story instantly came to mind. An incident that was close to 20 years ago. I don’t know what recalled that particular instant, but it hasn’t left me since.
I was in 8th grade. We had this really boring text book in my Leadership class. The whole class hated it. One day, the teacher stepped out of the room, probably to go make copies or something. The entire class hid their textbooks. The teacher was pretty flabbergasted when she came back in. I don’t know what made her do it, but she looked right at me and said, “Keira, where are the books.” Althought I didn’t stand up and tell the kids no (they were reaaaallllly boring books), I couldn’t tell a bold-face lie. So I caved and told her where they were. I thought for sure, the whole class would be mad at me, but actually no one was. Maybe because they knew I couldn’t like. I don’t know. But we didn’t have to use those books again. And the class didn’t really care. I don’t know why it’s so ingrained into my memory, but it is. I don’t remember a single other thing from that class, but I remember the time I didn’t lie.
It’s no surprise that the first example the Young Women Personal Progress book gives is that of the Savior. Even when He realized exactly how hard it was to comply with the atonement, He did it. He suffered for our sins. If He hadn’t had integrity, there would be no plan.
Joseph showed integrity with Potiphar’s wife. To me, that’s not just showing integrity in the obvious way. Not committing adultery is a definite commandment. But honoring the wishes of an employer and getting out of a potentially bad situation (as well as making a bad situation good without complaint) are also ways to show integrity.
Esther is one of my favorite examples of integrity. I don’t know if I’d have the courage to put my life on the line to stand up for others. I mean, I guess you’d just have to do it. I like that she fasts and prays before she does what she does. In this kind of situation, putting God at the central part of the plan, remembering that all things are possible through him, is the real example of integrity in Esther’s story.
Job never denied the Lord, when times got hard. I think that everyone has those moments when they wonder, with everything going on in their lives, if God loves them, if He really exists, and if He can help. But at the end of it, if you’ve kept the faith, kept believing, then you can show integrity, too. Just like Job.
Daniel didn’t stop praying. God’s commandments are greater than man’s.
Shadrach Meshach and Abednego were willing to die for their faith, but to me the true sign of integrity is something I heard in a conference talk once. I’ve never been able to find it since. In the talk the speaker said once that Shadrach Meshach and Abednego were great examples of the “But If Not” principle. Not only do they stand up for their beliefs, knowing that Christ CAN save them, they know that doesn’t mean Christ WILL save them. The true act of faith, and integrity, is remembering that God’s ways are better than our own plans. They know that they can be saved, but if they are not saved, they know that they will be with their Savior. “But if Not.” Integrity is trusting God. Submitting to His will.
Hyrum showed integrity for delighting in truth and finding what is right.
Paul showed integrity for changing his ways when he knew better. For adimitting he was wrong. That’s a big one!
Joseph Smith showed integrity by never denying what he had seen. “I knew it and I knew that God knew it.” How easy it would have been for him to just give into the world, “yeah, guys, you caught me.” But just because something is easy with Man doesn’t mean its easy with God. Giving into what the world wanted him to do would have eternal repercussions. It would NOT have been worth it. Easy and worth it are definitely not the same thing.