THE mental climate we live in is often so lax in ethical standards that even one who considers himself to be honest and moral can find himself equivocating on his income-tax return or failing to correct a billing error that has credited his account. Integrity may seem a tenuous thing sometimes because the right thing to do is not always apparent to human perception. Even if it is clear, self-justification, subtle greed, or common consent can make a wrong action seem acceptable.
But there's a higher sense of integrity that is solid and eternally constant. It involves being faithful to who we truly are as God's spiritual offspring. If we admit God to be perfect, we must conclude that His creation is perfect. Obviously, mankind is far from that ideal. But the spiritual reality remains that our true selfhood is the expression of the divine nature in all its integrity and perfection. To be motivated by the desire to act in accord with this reality is to cultivate that higher sense of integrity so essential to humanity's individual and collective progress.
The effect, then, of being true to a moral and spiritual view of man is that our experience comes into line with the harmony of spiritual reality.
The story of Joseph in the Bible is a marvelous example of the way that integrity always blesses humanity. When Joseph refused to have an immoral relationship with Potiphar's wife, he said, ``How...can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?''1 The result of Joseph's uprightness, in the face of subsequent false accusation, apparent financial ruin, and imprisonment, was that he was protected, freed, and ultimately entrusted with being second only to Pharaoh in ruling over Egypt.
But is such divinely impelled integrity practical today? My family and I had an experience which convinced us that it is.
We were hoping to make use of the maternity benefits of an insurance policy when we discovered that we were not likely to qualify if we were completely forthright about the date of delivery. Despite suggestions as to how we could get the projected date of delivery to correspond with the insurance requirements, we determined to fill out the forms with complete honesty. We were reminded of a passage from the textbook of Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy:2 ``Honesty is spiritual power. Dishonesty is human weakness, which forfeits divine help.''3
We endeavored to be faithful to the view that our perfection as God's children entitled us to needful provision and to the knowledge that if we were honest we would have spiritual power and divine help. We didn't direct our prayers to making the insurance company accept our claim. We felt sure that our integrity would bring us into obedience to divine law and that this would be expressed in a way that would meet the need.
As it turned out, our claim was honored without reservation. We were grateful for this, but we were even more grateful to have acted in a way that was consistent with the genuine integrity of God and man, for this continues to bless us and show us the dependable care of God for man.
With the Psalmist we can pray, ``Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee.''3 Integrity has not gone out of style or become worthless. When it is based on fidelity to the spiritual facts of God and man, it is one of our greatest assets.
1Genesis 39:9. 2The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 3Science and Health, p. 453. 4Psalms 25:21.