The new buzzword on the Internet is “Fake News.” We hear about it in real news headlines almost daily. Typically, people only lie or deceive for things with significant value, but now we see people doing it for fun. At one point in time, a man’s word was his bond, deals were made with a handshake, and anyone caught being dishonest or breaking their promises lost respect. Sadly, such is not the case anymore.
WHERE HAS INTEGRITY GONE?
Integrity is a big deal. At least, I believe so and I am certain God does as well; but, I cannot say I am entirely convinced most people today feel the same. It seems like integrity has ceased to be a value of great importance and significance, and has become an antiquated relic of the past. To whatever extent this is true, we suffer because of it.
WHAT IS INTEGRITY ANYWAY?
Integrity comes from the same root as the word “integer” — a whole number. Like a whole number, integrity is not a fraction or divided in any way. To have integrity is to be whole and undivided, the same in thought, word, and deed. We lack integrity when we say one thing and do another. We also lack integrity when our hearts, minds, and actions are not in one accord. From that perspective, the rise of “fake news” is a reflection of a society lacking in integrity. Whenever someone is willing to act or speak deceitfully for an ulterior motive, it displays lack of integrity. This lack cannot be rationalized by saying, “The end justifies the means.” It is still a sacrifice of integrity.
"Fake news" leads us to question the truth and who we can trust. We hear conflicting reports concerning the same issue, and everyone claims his or her story to be fact. We no longer know if news is objective fact or agenda-driven commentary. We don’t know what to think when our leaders, media, teachers, or even our neighbors speak.
There is an integrity crisis in our world today, and because of it, trust is crumbling. Even religious institutions are not exempt as many have been rocked by scandal. When there is a lack of integrity, we have no reason to trust. When we can’t trust, we are confused, uncertain, and fearful. When we are fearful, we often act in selfishness, intent on self-preservation. The more we live like this, the more fractured we become as a society. Without integrity, the structure of our free society, governed of, for, and by the people, will eventually collapse. We are sacrificing integrity, and may end up paying a high price for it.
THE BIBLICAL ANSWER
The psalmist gives us the answer. We need to build integrity within ourselves by being searched by God, who can always discern fake from true.
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
— Psalm 139:23-24
by Jimmy Aycock