Summary: The world needs men with integrity! It needs men who are incorruptible, complete, and honest.
Father’s Day - “Integrity”
In the book “The Day America Told the Truth” (1991), the authors (James Patterson & Peter Kim) relate the stunning results of a question which was asked of Americans. The question was simply this: What are you willing to do for $10 million? 2/3 of those polled said they would do at least one of the following ... some said they would do several of the following:
- Would abandon their entire family (25%)
- Would abandon their church (25%)
- Would become prostitutes for a week or more (23%)
- Would give up their American citizenships (16%)
- Would leave their spouses (16%)
- Would withhold testimony and let a murderer go free (10%)
- Would kill a stranger (7%)
- Would put their children up for adoption (3%)
Why would people do such things? There are some obvious reasons. First of all, such a person could have no love or fear of God. Second, greed would obviously be a factor. There’s another that also tops the list with these - it’s “lack of integrity.”
Unfortunately, in our society there’s a lot of that going around. In fact, in this week’s issue of Newsweek (June 19, 2000) there was an article titled “When Teachers Are Cheaters.” It tells of how some teachers throughout the country are urging and even helping their students cheat on tests.
The reason of course, is because if their student’s grades are up, they can receive bonuses worth as much as $25,000. Some are also doing it because if their student’s test scores aren’t as high as they should be, they could lose their jobs. So what do some of these teachers do? They forego their integrity!
It’s a sad fact, that integrity is so rare, that when someone sees it in another it often becomes big news. It’s like making a rare sighting of Bigfoot.
Remember Tom Landry? He was the legendary coach of the Dallas Cowboys who passed away in February 2000. He was one of those rare sightings. His legacy is far more than just being the NFL’s third-winningest coach of all time. It’s far more than his two Super Bowl victories.
He was a man whose priorities were in order: God first, family second, football third. One person said, “Tom Landry provided significant leadership ... through a strength of character and faith with his priorities in tact. He knew that football was just a game and that integrity mattered on the field and off.” As former Cowboy Drew Pearson said, “Landry was a teacher. He taught a lot more than football.”
There have been many great football coaches - but being a great football coach is not the reason the USA Today ran the headline “Landry’s death leaves Texas-size legacy.” No - his legacy is that his career was marked with outstanding integrity.
What is integrity? Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary says it’s: “incorruptibility, soundness, and/or completeness.” It’s primary synonym is “honesty.”
Today, on Father’s Day, guys I want say this: the world needs men with integrity! It needs men who are incorruptible, complete, and honest. There’s 3 verses of Scripture I want us to think read this morning.
1. Integrity means incorruptibility (Prov 10:9).
The first one is this: “He who walks in integrity walks securely, But he who perverts his ways will be found out” (Prov 10:9).
That speaks to the fact that integrity means incorruptibility. And when you walk in that manner, you walk on good ground that keeps you standing upright.
In Chicago, 1929, a 26 year-old government agent named Eliot Ness formed an elite team of 9 incorruptible men to bring down Al Capone’s $120 million mob empire. At the time, Ness was making $2,800 a year working for the government. One day a young man walked into his office and handed Ness an envelope with 2 one thousand dollar bills and promised this weekly if he would lay off Capone.
Ness sent the money and the messenger back. Desiring to make a point, Ness called a press conference. Newspapers and newsreels from various agencies were in attendance. Ness told the story of Capone’s attempted bribe and his response to it. The next day, headlines read “Ness and his men are UNTOUCHABLE.”
That’s integrity. It reminds me of something that happened to Raymond Floyd one time. Raymond Floyd is a professional golfer. One time he was getting ready to tap in a routine putt, but nudged the ball ever so slightly before he stroked it. According to the rule book, if the ball moves in this way the golfer must take a penalty stroke.
Yet consider the situation. Floyd was among the leaders in this tournament which offered a top prize of $108,000. To acknowledge that the ball had moved could mean he would lose his chance for big money.