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By Jesse Utz 

Integrity: the missing link


Sometimes I take a look at this world we live in and just shake my head. It feels like we are living in a big movie script and the actors and actresses just keep stirring the plot. Government divided nations on the brink, terrorists everywhere, and school shootings make all Americans and citizens of the world just dumbfounded at what we are becoming as a nation. Not to mention those elite services we have relied on for so long in this country are not immune to society’s indiscretions.

We blame things on violent television, an entitled generation, shooter-type video games and a corrupt government on all levels, but are they really the answer to the darkness that seems to cover a lot of our eyes? Have we become a nation that just sits back and waits for the problem to come to our own backyard before we yell and get someone’s attention? Social media has got a lot of negatives in the product as well. We can safely be thousands of miles away, uninformed and detached from reality, and throw out our two cents no matter the pain and ignorance behind our comment. We then claim free speech and carry on with our life of spiced lattes and breakfast burritos.

Remember when we, as young parents, were told, “Our children are always watching”? They pick up everything we say and do and claim it as their own. They also picked up the finger pointing: It was not me, that is their fault. Our kids have absorbed it all, all of our flaws and everything they have put into their own heads, and we allowed it. If we spoke to a soldier about the effects of war on them mentally, we call that PTSD now; and I would be willing to bet that that same diagnosis can be given to a child who grows up in an abusive home, a child who spends numerous hours entrenched in a violent game and even a child who grows up on the streets, raised by hustling and scraping up whatever they can connect with.

With all that being said, it is time to take a stand as a nation. We need to incorporate integrity back into our daily lives. We need to start with us, and then require it from our leaders. Integrity is missing in every aspect of society today, and we must get back to it. Integrity as parents, as neighbors, as students, as employees and bosses; when we start requiring it as citizens, then our governments will take notice. If we make integrity an everyday part of life, things slowly get better. We start to see lifestyle change, government change and our kids change. I would also be willing to bet that mental health would also improve. Sometimes, we forget that just plain telling the truth feels good. We don’t have to look over our shoulders, choose our words correctly and live hidden lives when we walk with integrity as a society. With me, that starts with my faith. I don’t hide it anymore. I talk about it, write about it and live it every moment of every day. I stop hiding the Good News and share with others. It was not meant to be hidden away, to be taboo, to be a subject avoided. It was meant to be lived, shared and spoken.

Integrity starts with us. Integrity is a foundation for living with a faith so strong it cannot be wavered. We need to bring it back to the forefront of living. When integrity — true, real integrity — is required by all members of society, then we can start putting the pieces back together and solidly identifying the good from the bad and sift out the chaff. Let integrity start today.

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