The issue of integrity, or lack thereof, has reared its head within our community of Christian writers. (A link to the article “Sexual Harassment Uncovered at Christian Writing Conferences.”) It is a time of sorrow.
Many have been hurt, and the heart aches to hear and read the stories. It is ugly, horrible, and that’s just about what we know. It is inexcusable. Innocent lives forever changed. Our industry has been sullied.
Earlier this year I helped a conference director craft a “Conference Code of Conduct” and have adapted it as a statement for our agency:
Every person involved in our agency is expected to act in a manner that reflects biblical values and to act in a manner that pleases God. We are expected to be respectful and treat everyone the same – regardless of rank, gender, or socioeconomic position. Christian men and women are expected to maintain the highest moral standards as a reflection of God’s holiness. While much of today’s culture has abandoned these precepts, the biblical principles for behavior are essential. Our actions and words are a testimony of who we are as Christ followers.
(Ps. 51:9–10, Phil. 4:8, Ps. 41:12, 1 Cor. 6:19–20, Ps. 24:3–5, Gal 1:10)
This is not a debate. There should not be a question about how we behave as followers of Christ. Our words and behavior are indeed a testimony to Him whose name we proclaim. Harvey Mackay wrote, “If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters.”
In our weakness, we must rely on Christ who gives us strength (2 Corinthians 12:9). That is why we are urged toward sanctification (Romans 6:19), to the “holy calling” (2 Timothy 1:9), and to “walk worthy” (Ephesians 4:1).
A.W. Tozer wrote, “The purity of our life is simply the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. No other level of purity will be accepted. As I intentionally live the Christian life, I am focused on His purity, and He is living His life through me unencumbered by other things or interests” (The Dangers of a Shallow Faith).
Hebrews 13:18 reads, “Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way.” We are in the business of changing the world for God’s Kingdom through the words we write. It is a calling like no other.
Let us focus on that task, maintain our integrity, and support those who have been hurt.