A Matter of Integrity

A number of years ago a book opened my eyes and challenged my thinking. It was Radical Son, written by David Horowitz. The book is an autobiographical account of the author’s journey from Marxism to neo-conservatism. I believe it should be required reading for every person concerned about the ideological drift which is moving our country away from its historical roots.

I must admit that I found the book to be infuriating at times, as Horowitz unfolded his attempt to undermine the political structure of the nation and bring about revolution. I found it enlightening as he exposed the methodology of the Left and the violent means which some were ready to pursue in order to make the revolution happen. I found it to be incisive in its de-evaluation of Marxism as a promising ideology for those seeking justice and equality.

What really struck me, however, was the unwillingness to those on the Left to see the truth about itself and admit the failure of Marxism to create a stable and equitable society in any of the countries where it had seized control. They did just as Paul de­scribed in Romans: They suppressed the truth and exchanged the truth for a lie.

In the process of being infuriated and distressed by the unwill­ingness of intelligent people to see and admit the truth, I found myself being discomforted by the fact that those of us who oppose Marxism and who call ourselves disciples of Jesus may be no less guilty for being unwilling to confront truth. I thought of how often I had gone along with ideas and positions of the theologi­cal conservatism with which I had identified myself, when in my heart I was not convinced that we were right.  I didn’t want to see what was not agreeable to what we said was the truth; and I didn’t speak up even when I was uneasy about conclusions which were being drawn.

When we come down to it, the whole issue is a matter of integri­ty: the willingness to ask ourselves the really hard questions and seek to answer them with a total commitment to the truth.  Without integrity, everything else is cheapened, even the truth which we may be seeking to espouse.

If Jesus taught His disciples anything, He taught them that He was the truth; that they would know the truth, and the truth would make them free; and that they would proclaim the truth to a world that was in the darkness of untruth.

Yet, the truth often has been the victim of convenience, the lamb offered up for faith, and the sacrifice for convictions felt to be right. The end has too frequently justified the means, and the cause has all too readily been used to mute the voice of reasoned conviction.

Of one thing we can be certain however: Jesus is never served by cutting the corners on the truth or by softening the blow of truth against traditions and practices which may be considered sacrosanct. At whatever point we feel it necessary to close our eyes to what is clearly to be seen or to close our minds to what is obviously to be thought, we have done the Gospel of Jesus a terrible disservice and have sold our own integrity for a cheap victory.

The world can be expected to sacrifice honor for gain, to ex­change truth for convenience, to sell out its moral standards for tawdry pleasures and its integrity for apparent advantages.  We, as Christ followers, must not.            William B. Coker, Sr.

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