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12.2.13

Being a Woman in Business - Who has Integrity

Integrity is one of those qualities which is not easily visible in those who possess it because it is often practiced in secret.  A person with integrity has a certain humility about them along with other qualities which draw people to themselves.  This is because integrity is more than honesty; it is the combination of honesty with strong moral principles.  The word "integrity" stems from the Latin adjective integer which means whole and complete.  In this context, integrity is the inner sense of "wholeness" derived from qualities such as honesty and consistency of character. As such, you may judge that others "have integrity" to the extent that they act according to the values, beliefs and principles they claim to hold.

In business we need to be the sort of people that attract other people to ourselves.  It’s obvious that this makes for good business.  Integrity is attractive.  Integrity is the essential foundation of any business.  Without integrity you will fail at some point.  Perhaps you will get away without integrity at first but you cannot sustain a business without integrity.  When you encounter a business woman with integrity you will sense that they are authentic and can be trusted.

On the flip side, if you encounter a business woman who lacks integrity, you will sense that something is not quite right and they should not be trusted.  Most women, however, don’t trust their instincts and ignore the warning alarms that go off when they encounter a person who lacks integrity and end up getting burned.  Integrity matters, it is essential that you have integrity and that you do business with people who have integrity.

One concern of course is your own integrity.  Usually people who lack integrity are unaware of it or unashamed of it.  I remember the first time God showed me that I lied at work when I feared making a mistake.  It was a horrifying revelation that I could lie.  Of course, most people do lie.  It is considered normal and white lies are deemed necessary and acceptable in this day and age.  However, a woman with integrity will understand that there is no such thing as a white lie.  Over time, with God’s help, I uncovered my lack of integrity, realised what caused me to lie and learned new behaviour.   In time I came to realise that integrity is more valuable than staying out of trouble for making mistakes.  In fact, I started to notice other people’s ability to lie and I realised how ugly it is.  This made me more determined than ever to work on my character. 

How about you?  Take time to observe yourself and when you are under pressure see how easy it is for you to lie.  If you discover that you lack integrity, don’t panic.  Awareness is step one.  Without awareness you cannot gain integrity.  So, once you become aware of your character flaws, go to God and ask Him to help you become a woman of integrity. 

If you recognise that you lack integrity stop right away.  Stop doing anything dishonest.  Stop doing anything that involves lying.  Stop doing anything that deceives.  Stop any and all activity that is not based on integrity, even if it means you will lose money or people.  If you have not been found out then you still have a chance to put things right but if you continue without integrity you constantly run the risk of being caught.  The Bible says in the New Living Translation Bible in Proverbs 13:11 that, “Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time.”  Even if you are gaining financially from dishonest work, you cannot keep the money, it will disappear.  Working slowly and surely, with integrity as a foundation, is the best way to make and keep you money and prevent your business from failing. 

Integrity is Your Safety Net
 He who walks with integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will become known.  - Proverbs 10:9

If you lack integrity you will be found out one way or another and once your lack of integrity is discovered it will be very difficult to win your clients back.  The worse scenario is that you are blind to your lack of integrity but others see it and steer clear of you.  Don’t be fooled into believing that you can cover up or mask a lack of integrity convincingly.  You efforts to hide it will only make it worse.  Have you ever seen a child try to wipe off a spot of paint from a wall or hide a milk spill on the floor?  Inevitably they only makes things worse by trying to hide it and would have done better to come clean in the first place. 

Start well and walk securely in integrity.  It is not worth doing business with people who lack integrity because when they slip and fall, when they get discovered, they will take you down with them.  You might have saved a few pennies doing business with them but in the end you could lose much more than you gained.  Steer clear of business people who lack integrity.  Remember, people with integrity are secure.  Your integrity is your safety net.  

Integrity is Your Guide
The integrity of the upright will guide them: but the perverseness of the unfaithful will destroy them. - Proverbs 11:3

At times we will not know which direction to turn.  It is in these times that our integrity will be our guide.  Firstly, it guides us but showing us which way not to go.  If we know which way not to go it is far easier to figure out the remainder of our options.  Knowing not to lie, cheat, steal, etc eliminates a whole range of options, especially in business.  Many business women would consider these as options if it means they will get ahead, however a business woman with integrity counts the cost.  Integrity shows us that there are always consequences to lack of integrity so we won’t waste our time considering any path that requires a lack of integrity from us.  The unfaithful however will consider anything to advance in a career or make money which will ultimately destroy them.

When in doubt, know that your integrity will guide you and will please God.  Deep down inside you know what is truly important and you know how to please God.  Choose life.  Choose integrity.  Choose to please God.  If these things are number one in your life then you will prosper. 

Integrity Will Preserve You
Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on you.  - Psalm 25:21

When you are under pressure your integrity is all that will keep you from falling.  It will preserve you.  Preserve means to protect, conserve, safeguard and defend.  In the Psalm above preserve comes from the Hebrew word nâtsar which is a primitive root word which means to guard and protect.  It’s a wonderful thought, that you have a permanent security guard within you if you have integrity.  Not only will your integrity guard you but it will also defend you.

This Psalm offers another little key for us and that is the last part of the verse - for I wait on you.   As we wait on Him we will grow in integrity.  As we wait on Him we will grow upright.  Integrity cannot be rushed.  It is integrated into the fabric of our being over time.  If you recognise that you do not have integrity in your business or as an individual, go to God and wait on Him.  Allow Him to begin a work of restoration and redemption so that you can have the integrity that you need to preserve you and your business.  If you recognise that certain people that you are dealing with lack integrity as God what He would have you do and proceed with caution.  If in doubt stop doing business with them.  

Integrity Will Sustain You
And as for me, You sustain me in my integrity, and set me before Your face forever.
- Psalm 41:12

Integrity will also sustain you.  Psalm 41 is a song that King David wrote about how his friends had come against him and how his enemies tried to come against him.  He concludes his song with the fact that even though these people tried to come against him, God sustained him in his integrity.

Nothing has changed since David’s time.  We still have friends that say bad things behind our back and we still have enemies that try to come against us and take us out.  Especially in business.  Competition is fierce and you can’t always tell who your friends are.  But, if we have integrity we need not fear is God will sustain us in our integrity.  You need not give up or let go of your integrity.  As long as you keep your integrity you will be sustained.

If you are doing business with people that lack integrity and fear the loss of income if you stop doing business with them, don’t.  Your integrity will sustain you but if you hold onto them their lack of integrity could stain you. Don’t allow people without integrity to damage your good reputation by association.  

Integrity is Your Children’s Blessing
The just man walks in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.
- Proverbs 20.7

John Maxwell in his book, The Leader Within You, tells the story of the building of the Great Wall of China. “They built it so high that no one could get over it. And they built it so thick that no one could tunnel through it. They built this gigantic wall that still exists today. And then the people of China sat down behind the wall, feeling that their future was secure. But in the first 100 years of the existence of the Wall of China, China was invaded 3 different times. The enemy didn’t come over because it was too high. They didn’t tunnel through because it was too thick. But each time China was invaded, the enemy came through a gate left open for them. Those who guarded the gate had been bribed. And while the people of China sat comfortably behind the security and the safety of the wall, they failed to teach their children integrity. So they sold out to the enemy. And the enemy invaded their land.”

Your children will follow in your footsteps and if you have integrity then they will be blessed.  However, if you lack integrity, who knows what they will inherit?

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