Thursday, May 20, 2010

Truth and Integrity in Short Supply

One day during my childhood, I found a neat little jack knife at my Grandmother’s house, while visiting with my mother. I liked it and asked if I could have it. Although I was told "no," I made it home with that desired object in my pocket. When mother discovered what I had done, she quietly accompanied me back to the Superior Street home of Grandmother Nellie and I had to return it to her--in person; of course, that required some explanation as well.

There were a few other such incidents, like getting home with candy or gum when I had only enough money for a gallon of kerosine (the reason for my trip to the store). That turned out like the first experience; consequently, I grew up with a strong sense of what is mine is mine and what is yours is yours. I reached adulthood with a sensitive conscience. I learned to tell the truth, maintain integrity, and avoid lying and deceit.

I am deeply grateful for that strict accountability, for as I look around the world in which I live today, I see a world filled with untruth, deceit, and lack of trust.

So an established politician demands to know, how dare you impugn my impeccable record just because of a few “misspoken words.” I would like to remind the Connecticut politician that he need only ask a veteran how s/he feels about someone claiming military service he never fulfilled, just for personal gain. You just do not “misspeak” claims of that stature without behaving fraudulently!

It seems celebrities are especially vulnerable today, although it is quite common to humanity. Tour de France cyclist Floyd Landis unloaded his guilty conscience after lying for several years about doping; of course, he blamed it on Lance Armstrong, who has been under the gun for several years.Santana Moss, of football fame, is also under the gun and it goes on like a cat chasing its tail.

Then there was that Senate vote aimed at reining in risky financial behaviors and regulatory failures, the kind that helped create the Wall Street crash. In China, China-Aid joined 15 other human rights organizations to once again discover the whereabouts of a kidnapped and missing pastor. Citizens in both Thailand and Greece are protesting in the streets with vigor.

Running through these and other news-making incidents that capture our attention are an atmosphere of distrust and lack of truth. Horace Mann once claimed “you need not tell all the truth, unless to those who have a right to know it all. But let all you tell be truth.”

Truth appears to be on the public scaffold these days, trust, truth, and integrity being in seeming short fall. Public organizations depend today onPublic Relations experts to skillfully slant issues and make their pitch acceptable. Madison Avenue boldly offers half-truthes and questionable claims for corporate sponsors in a time when "appearance and feeling" are all that count.

Lying, stealing, coveting, and bearing false witness were all given in the Ten Commandments. Even for one who neither believes in God or the God of the bible, these family cousins remain unbelievably active to this day essential, although they undermine the security, well being, and happiness of every citizen and nation on our planet. Without trust, truth, and moral integrity there can be no such thing as a meaningful relationship, a sound social structure, satisfactory government with peace and security.

It was Bishop Hall who said “a charitable untruth, an uncharitable truth, and an unwise management of truth or love are all to be carefully avoided of him that would go with a right foot in the narrow way.”

Is it too much to imagine what it would be like to live in a society that operated by the Golden Rule that Jesus left us, where we all began treating each other as we want to be treated?

This is Warner’s World,

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