"I have been asked what I mean by “word of honor.” I will tell you. Place me behind prison walls—walls of stone ever so high, ever so thick, reaching ever so far into the ground—there is a possibility that in some way or another I might be able to escape; but stand me on the floor and draw a chalk line around me and have me give my word of honor never to cross it. Can I get out of that circle? No, never! I’d die first."
— Karl G. Maeser
I've had to deal with issues of integrity my whole life, whether my own or that of others. On many occasions, I've had to make a decision between something I WANT or something a friend WANTS and doing what is RIGHT because they aren't always, and in today's world often are not, the same thing. As I get older, the line gets more blurry, less defined by those around me, and more and more I come across instances where righteous people I respect are crossing lines of integrity, believing that "just this once" won't hurt, or that it's "okay in this situation." It's scary how easily Satan gets in. All it takes is letting him in once, and the next time, it will be easier for him to convince you that there's nothing wrong with copying a friends homework just this once. And then, the next time, it will be something bigger. At school, in the work place, or just between friends, integrity is endangered, and rapidly becoming extinct or considered prehistoric.
So how can I, one person living in this frightening time, preserve my integrity? The first step is deciding that I will be honest in all things, no matter what, and I can start by improving the areas where I've put a toe over the line. It means drawing a straight "chalk line," and not making it curvy or wavy in order to include something that jeopardizes my integrity. If I'm honest with myself in setting my standards, I'll better be able to keep them.
The next step is the hardest--I have to live up to my standards, no matter the temptation that assails me. This is the worst when it's against friends, family, or superiors. Many of these people mean well enough, but they will try to convince me that I don't have to always follow my standards, that they are inefficient, foolish, limiting, or even destructive. They are wrong.
Even though this will always be a difficult thing to do, I have a strong testimony that if I do everything I can to keep my words and actions honorable, God will bless me. Sometimes it may not even seem like I'm receiving blessings and I'll feel punished for my good deeds, but I know He will always come through for me. He loves me and does not want me to suffer for being a good, honest person. He will always bless me for telling the truth and keeping my word. There's a quote somewhere that says a man is not measured by what he does in the presence of others, but what he does when he thinks no one is watching. Someone is always watching; and that someone is not a being I ever want to disappoint. His opinion means more to me than any worldly possession or position, more than the opinions of my friends, neighbors, strangers, family, superiors.
So, pass me the chalk, please. I'm ready to draw my line.