“Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place” (Ps 51:6).
Integrity is often defined by what we do in secret. Are our actions the same in public as what we do behind closed doors? Kenneth Lay was the chairman and CEO of Enron, a multi-billion dollar energy corporation that went bankrupt at the hands of its executives because of mismanagement and misrepresentation of its financial practices. Many people lost their retirement life savings as a result.
In 1996, Kenneth Lay made a comment in a book entitled, Business as Mission.
“In my own case I grew up the son of a Baptist minister. From this background, I was fully exposed to not only legal behavior but moral and ethical behavior and what that means from the standpoint of leading organizations and people. I was, and am, a strong believer that one of the most satisfying things in life is to create a highly moral and ethical environment in which every individual is allowed and encouraged to realize their God-given potential. There are few things more satisfying than to see individuals reach levels of performance that they would have thought was virtually impossible for themselves.”
Something went very wrong from the time Kenneth Lay wrote those words and the time he was convicted June 6, 2006. Strangely, Lay never went to prison because he died suddenly of a heart attack a few months after being convicted.
No one is immune from starting well and ending badly. The scriptures are full of men and women who did great things for God but did not finish well toward the latter part of their lives. Success can often be the breeding ground for ethical failure. Oswald Chambers said, “Not every man can carry a full cup. Sudden elevation frequently leads to pride and a fall. The most exacting test of all to survive is prosperity.”
Ask God today to protect you from pride that can lead to ethical failure.