The first topic I have been asked to address in Zimbabwe in a little over two weeks is “Integrity, Honesty in Business.” This topic is much more than an interesting philosophical discussion in a country that endures corruption from the top governmental officials who probably used vote rigging and intimidation to win the election in July to everyday business transactions where bribery is commonplace. I do not feel it is my place to tell Zimbabwean business-people how to conduct their affairs. However, they have asked me to address this topic, so I intend to approach it through a series of questions. Below is a list of questions that follows a logic that makes sense to me. How would you adjust this list to make it better? How can I help these people think deeply and commit themselves to lives of integrity?
- What do you think is the number one thing that hinders Zimbabwean prosperity? I expect their answers will include: insufficient education, political corruption, lack of international trade, etc.)
- If they don’t mention personal and business integrity, I will introduce this and get their agreement that this is a huge problem. From former experience, I know this will not be controversial.
- Next I will ask them to define integrity? As they answer, I will insert these definitions:
- the quality or state of being complete or undivided
- adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty
- doing the right thing even when no one is watching
- Next I will ask them to consider what the Bible says about integrity. I will ask them to come up with scripture and I will help them with the following list:
- 1 Kings 9:4 “As for you, if you walk before me faithfully with integrity of heart and uprightness, …
- Proverbs 10:9 Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.
- Proverbs 11:3 The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.
- Proverbs 13:6 Righteousness guards the person of integrity, but wickedness overthrows the sinner.
- Proverbs 28:6 Better the poor whose walk is blameless than the rich whose ways are perverse.
- Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,
- Luke 16:10 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.
- Titus 2:7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
- Matt 22:16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are.
- 2 Corinthians 1:12 Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace.
Then I will continue the conversation with the following questions:
- Describe the most honest person you know.
- Why is integrity important?
- Why is integrity difficult? When is it difficult to be honest?
- How do you feel about people who do not do what they say they will do?
- What are some strategies you could use to help a friend who is not living with integrity?
- What are some steps you can take to build greater integrity in your life?
I have two hours to cover this material. I will allow the discussion to go or periodically cut it short according to the time remaining.
Do any ideas or suggestions come to your mind as you read through this plan?