Daniel was a servant of God known for integrity. What is integrity? Definition: The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
Wikipedia says this about integrity: Integrity is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions. Integrity can be regarded as the opposite of hypocrisy, in that it regards internal consistency as a virtue, and suggests that parties holding apparently conflicting values should account for the discrepancy or alter their beliefs.
Integrity is the opposite of duplicity and hypocrisy.
Duplicity: contradictory doubleness of thought, speech, or action; especially : the belying of one’s true intentions by deceptive words or action.
Hypocrisy: 1. The practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold or possess; falseness. 2. An act or instance of such falseness.
Daniel’s integrity was tested many times. In one occasion enemies of Daniel tended a trap for him. They got the king to sign off on an edict that declared that anyone who petitioned any god or man except the king for 30 days was to be thrown into the lion’s den. (Dan. 6:7)
They knew Daniel had the custom of praying 3 times a day to God. What did Daniel do when he learned of the edict? Daniel 6:10 (HCSB) – ” When Daniel learned that the document had been signed, he went into his house. The windows in its upper room opened toward Jerusalem, and three times a day he got down on his knees, prayed, and gave thanks to his God, just as he had done before.”
Daniel could have hidden the fact that he was praying to God. For thirty days he could have given the impression that he was obeying the edict. But he did not. He was a man of integrity.
Integrity is honesty at all costs. It is telling the truth even when it hurts to do so. It is not trying to give one impression with one’s actions and inside thinking something entirely different.
Meditating on these matters recently has deeply troubled me. Am I being duplicit or a hypocrite? Am I pretending to have beliefs and opinions that I no longer possess when I am with JWs? Am I putting on a pretense so as to fool others so that I can escape the pain of being DFed? Am I becoming skilled in deception, so that I am no longer guileless? Can I remain innocent with a hidden agenda?
I have considered what Jesus said in Matthew 10:16 – “Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as serpents and as harmless as doves.”
The commentary of Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown of 1871 says this about this verse:
16. Behold, I send you forth–The “I” here is emphatic, holding up Himself as the Fountain of the Gospel ministry, as He is also the Great Burden of it.
in the midst of wolves–ready to make a prey of you ( John 10:12 ). To be left exposed, as sheep to wolves, would have been startling enough; but that the sheep should be sent among the wolves would sound strange indeed. No wonder this announcement begins with the exclamation, “Behold.”
be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves–Wonderful combination this! Alone, the wisdom of the serpent is mere cunning, and the harmlessness of the dove little better than weakness: but in combination, the wisdom of the serpent would save them from unnecessary exposure to danger; the harmlessness of the dove, from sinful expedients to escape it. In the apostolic age of Christianity, how harmoniously were these qualities displayed! Instead of the fanatical thirst for martyrdom, to which a later age gave birth, there was a manly combination of unflinching zeal and calm discretion, before which nothing was able to stand.
The religion that we have been a part of is unyielding in it’s demands for obedience and submission. What do we do so as to be a person of integrity in this situation? Must we either speak out or just leave? Can we continue to give an appearance of submission and obedience and not be hypocritical?
In this article I have only discussed thoughts that I myself have entertained. I do not presume to advise other awakened JWs on how they should act. Proverbs 24:6 says – ” for you should wage war with sound guidance- victory comes with many counselors”.
So what comments do you brothers and sisters have on these issues?