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Serving with integrity

Friday 9 September 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Church Talk, Features

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Serving with integrity
Tamatoa Jonassen. 15042210

Honesty and ethics are synonymous with integrity. The first of the eight public service values is ‘honesty’ which is described as ‘acting honestly, being truthful and abiding by the laws’, writes Tamatoa Jonassen of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Theft, corruption, bribery, and fake news – you only need to pick up a newspaper, turn on the TV, tune in to the radio, connect to your social media feed, or engage our local coconut wireless – to learn of the latest challenges to honesty that is faced by individuals and societies. With media and gossip often focusing on what is going wrong in the world, it can be easy to despair and give up on humanity and our divine potential.

As we look to our own circumstances, our jobs, our families and relationships, how are we facing the challenges and temptations that come our way? Do we have integrity in what we do and say? Are our intentions pure? How would our children view us and how would God judge us?

Honesty and ethics are synonymous with integrity. The first of the eight public service values is “honesty” which is described as “acting honestly, being truthful and abiding by the laws”.

Integrity is also defined as a firm adherence to a code of values. Integrity denotes a state of completeness and can be characterised by the strength to which you adhere to good values. Integrity is exercising self-control in the absence of external pressure. What you would do if no one was around or looking over your shoulder.

Integrity is incorruptibility. Being true. I like this quote from President Karl G. Maeser: “I have been asked what I mean by word of honour. I will tell you. Place me behind prison walls — walls of stone ever so high, ever so thick, reaching so far into the ground — there is a possibility that in some way or another I may be able to escape; but stand me on the floor and draw a chalk line around me and have me give my word of honour never to cross it. Can I get out of that circle? No, never! I’d die first!”

Job in the Bible showed his commitment to integrity: “All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils; My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit ... Till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me.” (Job 27:3-5). He knew he would one day face God and His judgement like we all will. “Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know mine integrity.” (Job 31:6).

We should not be saying “honesty is the best policy — only part of the time!” Our integrity should remain constant. “There are some things that should not ever be done, some lines that should never be crossed, vows that should never be broken, words that should never be spoken, and thoughts that should never be entertained.”

“Those who unjustly profit at the expense of others may gain fortune, but they forfeit something more important, which is their own integrity. Taking advantage of others is a counterfeit form of true success and honour. Those who have children and are involved in doing something less than they should may be involved in a double evil, for in addition to the inherent wrong they commit, they also teach another generation to do wrong.” Proverbs 20:7 teaches “the just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.”

Integrity is also “knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is the right thing to do.” For example, you have the legal right to gossip, to disrespect your parents, to lie (unless under oath), to smoke cigarettes if you are of age; however having the right to do these things does not make them the right thing to do.

The ultimate example of integrity was our Saviour Jesus Christ. His light shines on the way we must follow. He is the truth and standard that we must adhere to. His life was given in selflessness that we might live. As we cultivate our relationship with God and seek to become better versions of ourselves, Jesus Christ cannot be ignored.  “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6).

Yet if we make mistakes, we should not be discouraged by our own shortcomings. No one is without weakness. There is mercy given to those who truly repent, which is weighed when it is time for God’s judgement. However, repentance is not an easy road and among other things involves making amends for the wrongs committed.

The standard of integrity and being true still remains. We must maintain a disciplined conscience and strength of duty. Moses said in Numbers 30:2, “If a man vow a vow unto the Lord, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.”

True success comes with following God and his goodness. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33).

It is said that an honest man is the noblest work of God. May we seek to be stalwarts of truth and beacons of trust in our families and communities, and serve with integrity, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.