I Have Integrity Issues

I have integrity issues.

Yeah. Big time. I mean let’s talk about this definition of integrity that gets thrown around: “Integrity is who you are when no one is watching”.

Not to complicate things here, but I sometimes wish that integrity would be happening when people ARE watching as well!

Somewhere along life’s road we have gotten comfortable with being ‘real’ and ‘genuine’ and ‘in your face, tell it like it is’ that we don’t really care what anyone thinks anymore.

Doesn’t anything embarrass us? Aren’t there certain subjects that out of respect for others and ourselves we just don’t bring up? Have we lost the fine art of having a bit of class?

Not long ago I was walking in a well known shopping area. There were benches around that people could sit on and I noticed a nice looking man probably in his mid twenties, dressed well and watching people as they went by.

He was pretty chilled and as I walked past him, he said very presumptuously,  “hey, would you give me some money?” I looked at this well groomed, perfectly healthy looking young guy who could have probably applied for any job in the area and had a good chance at it on appearances alone and thought, “he did not just ask me for money, did he”?

I was so taken back that I could only reply “no, I won’t” and kept walking. Maybe that wasn’t the right response and if not, I will stand corrected. Because I used to work on a street ministry, in different circumstances I would have engaged him in a conversation about how we could help him and would have shared the gospel. This was different.

He didn’t show signs of having a mental illness and he didn’t look at all homeless. He just seemed to be sitting there feeling entitled and wanting some money but didn’t see any need to provide it for himself.

He was not embarrassed at all to flat out ask someone for money. He didn’t even bother to make up a sad story or try to look homeless. There seemed to be no sense of shame or no need for self-respect. He didn’t care what I thought of him and it seemed he didn’t care what he thought of himself.

The other day I walked past a couple of ladies outside of a store and they were on a tirade throwing out words that would make a sailor blush. Didn’t make them blush though when I walked by and overheard them. Later, one of the women came in the store and started moving merchandise, I think she was the manager. She could care less that one of her customers witnessed her in a slight less than professional demeanor.

It’s not that I can’t get over myself. I know how the world operates and I am no stranger to bad language or bad manners. It’s just that it seems we have lost touch with having some personal integrity and self respect to the point that it doesn’t matter to us anymore what anybody thinks. Not in private nor in public.

We used to be careful about how we talked in front of children or customers. It mattered to us to respect authority, the elderly or a title. A man of any age wouldn’t have thought to ask a woman or anyone else to give him money. There were topics that ladies did not discuss in front of men and vice versa because it was inappropriate.

I guess those days are over. I wish we could bring them back because I for one, miss them.

Yes. I have integrity issues.

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