“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12, ESV)
Quiz: Who were Shiphrah and Puah?
If you don’t know the answer, don’t feel bad. I didn’t remember their names either. I suppose some would consider them “minor” Bible characters, but these two women exhibited some major integrity. They were the Hebrew midwives who bravely ignored Pharaoh’s instructions to murder any male child born to an Israelite (Exodus 1). The two women would not go against their moral code to do such an evil act, even though their refusal placed them in a dangerous position. It took great courage to defy the order of the most powerful man in the nation.
Integrity is defined as “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty” (collinsdictionary.com).
What do you do when you are pressured to compromise your integrity? It may not always be a workplace situation, but at some point, you will find your integrity challenged. Do you cave in or stand firm? Martin Luther King, Jr. said it well: “The time is always right to do what is right.” If we allow our integrity to slip with “little things,” soon bigger things will no longer bother our conscience.
I stood in line at a department store checkout. After the customer ahead of me had paid and began walking away, I heard her tell her friend, “She missed scanning that top. I got it free!” She didn’t realize that by ignoring one of the “little things” she had given up a piece of her character.
A friend withdrew cash at the bank and noticed the teller had given her the wrong amount. Turning back, she said, “I believe you’ve made a mistake.” The teller rudely let her know she didn’t make mistakes. My friend replied, “Oh, I thought you might want this extra one hundred dollars.” The teller did a quick about-face and took the money. It would have been so easy for my friend to have just walked away and kept the extra without reporting it. But she had integrity.
It’s easy to rationalize. The young lady in the department store probably told herself, “Well, the clerk made the mistake. What difference will a few dollars make?” My friend in the bank could have walked away and thought, “Well, I tried, but she was rude to me. Maybe God is blessing me with this extra money.” And Shiphrah and Puah? “It’s out of our control. We can’t stand up against the most powerful man in the country. Otherwise, he will kill us.”
Have you ever been tempted to justify yourself by saying—
“It really isn’t that big a deal. It’s not hurting anyone.”
“Everyone’s doing it.”
“If I don’t do as the boss says, I’ll lose my job.”
“Who will know?
I recently read a statement by Craig D. Lounsbrough and agree with his thoughts. He stated, “Integrity is the thing that binds together all that is good within us as a means of overcoming all that is bad around us.” When we choose a life of integrity and refuse to compromise our core values, we not only honor God but also make the world a better place for everyone.
Shiphrah and Puah chose to do the right thing, even though it was risky to do so, and God honored their staunch convictions (Exodus 1:20-21). When the commands of men conflict with the commands of God’s Word, the choice is clear. If we must choose between what is right and what is expedient, always choose to do what is right. First Corinthians 15:15 tells us to be “steadfast, immovable.”
“But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29, ESV)