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Proverbs 11:3 says, "The integrity of the upright will guide them...."

Once you have decided to walk in integrity, two-thirds of life's decisions are already made. If this decision in any way causes me to compromise my integrity, the answer is no. I don't need to think about it or pray about it, because integrity guides me.

Airport Encounter
Years ago, when many stores still carried elephant-skin boots, my wife bought a pair for me. They were comfortable, and I wore them often.

Later when I was preparing for a trip to preach in Australia, I packed my elephant boots without thinking twice. Upon arriving at the Sydney Airport, we were given customs forms to fill out before we could officially enter the country.

I began to read down the list of contraband goods. Any firearms or other weapons? No. Any seeds or plants? No. Any leopard or elephant skins?

I couldn't believe it! I checked "yes" and proceeded through the line. The first woman to look at my passport and read by form looked as if she were going to faint.

"Animal skins? What kind?" she asked in disbelief.

"Elephant-skin boots," I told her. "A gift from my wife."

"That's terrible!" She gasped. "How could you?"

"Well, they cull the elephant herds when they become too numerous, and rather than throwing away the skins, they are used to make things—like boots," I said, trying to be as disarming as I could.

But she wouldn't hear any of it. Off I was whisked to meet with a person higher up the food chain.

The Dark Room, Dangling Light Bulb Treatment?
Next, I found myself being interrogated by a man who made the first woman seem docile by comparison. He rifled through my suitcase, tossing my underwear this way and my socks that way, until he held up my boots like some sort of trophy.

"You Americans are terrible!" he exclaimed. "You don't care anything about the environment. We could have you turned out of the country. We should confiscate these boots and burn them."

I was treated like an environmental terrorist.

Finally, after about an hour of scolding and threats, I was released—with my boots—but only after promising to take them out of the country with me when I left (as if I had planned on leaving them there).

As I was gathering up my socks, underwear, and other belongings to repack everything, another employee of the airport approached me and said, "Why didn't you just say they were artificial? You could have voided all this."

Integrity: The Road Less Traveled By
I didn't even need to think about my reply. "Because they are not artificial," I answered. "They are real. And even if they had taken my boots, it's a small price to pay compared to losing my integrity."

I left the Sydney Airport that day a little ruffled but with my integrity intact.

If you ever find yourself in a position where you are mentoring a younger person, take that person under your wing and teach him or her through the Scriptures (and by example) that it is never optional for a Christian to lie, cheat, or steal.

Teach him that honesty and uprightness are Christ-like qualities that all believers should demonstrate in their lives.

This is the way of a spiritual father. It will not only bring a reward to you, but it will also bring people to the Savior—because your life is the only Bible that some people will ever read.

Likewise, your life is the only sermon that some people will ever hear preached. It is an awesome responsibility!

Source: The Miracle of Mentoring by Bayless Conley
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Bayless Conley
Web site: Cottonwood Church
Bayless Conley is a pastor and speaker known for his clear presentation of the Gospel and the way he applies the life-changing truth of God's Word to everyday life. It's this same truth that radically turned his life around when a 12-year-old boy shared the Gospel with him many years ago. Bayless' unique background and remarkable testimony have enabled him to reach a diverse audience of people globally. In 1979, God called Bayless to share His Word on television, and in 1984, the broadcast was launched. Today, the Answers with Bayless Conley broadcast is impacting lives around the world in numerous languages.

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