In two subplots in the movie Courageous, we see examples of integrity – one man who had it and one who didn’t.
Sheriff’s Officer, Shane Fuller, played by Kevin Downes, is a Christian, divorced dad struggling to pay his child support and alimony.
Javier Martinez, played by Robert Amaya, is Christian, married, father of two struggling to feed his family and pay the rent and bills. He hears about construction jobs, but when he gets there, they have enough men and he’s sent home.
Javier later gets a job at a factory and after a month, is presented with an offer. The company’s president tells him he can be promoted to a managerial position with increased pay if he would just fudge the inventory a bit.
Shane, is also tested daily. As the Sheriff’s Office arrests drug dealers in the city, Shane is in charge of getting the recovered drugs to the evidence locker. He is tempted to take one or two packets thinking that they wouldn’t be missed.
Which one do you think passed the test? Which one do you think stuck to the integrity and moral values of his Christian faith? Which one do you think fell to desperation and greed?
The answer is surprising. Sheriff Officer, Adam Mitchell, played by Alex Kendrick (who also co-wrote and directed the movie), notices that the amount of drugs collected doesn’t match the amount in the evidence locker. He suspects his partner, Shane, who is later caught in a sting and sent to jail.
Javier, after thinking it over and talking to his wife, tells his boss, that no, what he was asking him to do, lying on the inventory sheet, is dishonest and it goes against God’s Word. As it turns out, it was a test and Javier passed. They were looking for the honest, man of integrity to promote. They had tested many other people and Javier was the only truly, trustworthy person.
I myself had several experiences in my working life regarding values, morals and integrity.
I quit two jobs and declined one because they went against my beliefs.
Back in Florida, I worked selling advertising and writing for an entertainment newspaper. I worked hard to elevate its reputation and even got stands in the ritzier sections of the city. The front page story was a paid advertorial which at that time cost $800. We had nice hotels and restaurants there which made the paper look good. We always put the strip clubs in the back of the paper until one week when the publisher tells me that he’s putting one on the cover. We argued for a whole afternoon. I told him I’d quit if he put that on the cover. He did and I did. He’d rather lose a good employee than $800.
My first full-time job after I moved to Phoenix was selling cars. I was doing well – bringing home about $4000 a month. The problem was that my bosses wanted me to lie to people and tell them a used pick up truck was on the lot when it had been sold, just to get the caller in the dealership. That would have been fine except that particular brand did not make trucks–there were no new models to sell them. On the rare occasion we’d get a truck in on trade, it was gone the same day it went up for sale. But they’d put it in the ad anyway to attract callers. If someone came in looking for a truck and all we had were minivans and SUVs, we had nothing to sell them and we had one angry person.
Working there was literally making me ill and I had to quit. But God provided me with a job a few weeks later.
Not too long ago, after being laid off I was contacted by a temp agency for a copy writing position. I went for the interview, but turned it down when I found out it would be promoting a form of gambling. There was no way I could, in good conscience, do that.
We can try to avoid certain temptations, but sometimes we can’t. Sometimes they are thrown our way just to test us our integrity, morals and values. Even Jesus was tempted.
No matter how desperate we are, we cannot fall into the temptation of stealing, cheating, embezzling or fraud.
God will provide what we need. We just need to turn to Him FIRST and not depend on ourselves. When we are faces with these temptations, that’s the time to ask, “What would Jesus to in this situation?” And then walk away and pray for God to provide. Don’t Worry!
Here are some scripture passes to back me up:
And in the end of it all, Jesus tells us that certain people who don’t believe and follow God’s commandments will not be allowed into heaven. The get the nasty, fiery lake of sulfur (Revelation 21:8).
So where do you want to end up? The choice is always yours – remember God gave us free will.