Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Demise of Integrity

The news is flooded with the latest scandal involving ex-CIA Director, David Petraeus' affair with Paula Broadwell.  More scandalous news has been added to the mix today as a love triangle with Jill Kelley and inappropriate email communications with General John Allen, the top U.S. Commander in Afghanistan, have now surfaced.  Our protectors of the free world have turned into characters on Peyton Place.

You can spend your time debating on whether this was a governmental cover-up to avoid the truth about the Libyan attack on the US Embassy, or that this news was held ransom by an incumbent president wanting to be re-elected, but let's not get tangled up in the politics of it all and just come face-to-face with the real issue here.  Integrity is slowly dying from the face of humanity.

Integrity is defined as "The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness."  It saddens me that top leaders of our nation take this commitment so lightly and seem to simply disregard the position they hold.    The responsibility of guarding the secrets of the strongest country in the world should be treated as such, not in the flippant manor that this latest debacle reveals.  

Both Petraeus and Broadwell are US Military Academy graduates.  Cut from the same cloth.  They walked the hills of West Point and were to live up to the high degree of ethics outlined by the Cadet Honor Code...a simple statement that says so much, "A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do."  It appears that this code of honor was lost on these two former cadets.  Allen, a graduate of the US Naval Academy, was guided by a similar code, known as the Honor Concept, which has as its first line, "Midshipmen are persons of integrity: We stand for that which is right."  Seems like General Allen slipped a bit, if the latest reports are correct.  The honor of an oath is lost in today's society.  A commitment that is made is easily broken.  We live in a society where integrity isn't applauded...it's looked upon as unique behavior.  

Oaths and vocational commitments aside, there is a forgotten group of people in this latest scandal that are in the shadows, but clearly impacted - Holly Petraeus, Scott Broadwell, Kathy Allen, and Scott Kelley - the spouses of the four folks involved in this scandal.  Higher than any other commitment or oath that was taken was a commitment made one day in the lives of these four couples; a commitment at an altar to remain faithful to each other in marriage until death parts them.  We take those commitments so lightly in today's society.  The sacred covenant of marriage, meant to be a picture of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is tarnished and torn.  I grieve most for the marriages that will be severed or severely damaged due to the uncontrollable actions of the accused.

The truth of the matter is we all are just one step away from a similar situation if we were to allow ourselves the liberty.  That is why this latest scandal should not bring us to sling accusations as to why it wasn't brought up sooner, or how the government manipulated this to protect an election outcome.  The issue goes so much deeper.  This event should serve as a wake-up call to all of us to live a life of integrity, walking in truth, lest we fall in the same trap that these four leaders did.  An impossible task without the accountability of a fellow brother or sister by your side, or, more importantly, without God as the center of all you do.  May we all live with our eyes fixed on Christ and save the final nail being hammered into the coffin of integrity.  

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