To appreciate the import of financial integrity, there is a need to understand what integrity is.
Integrity is God-like life of consistency and sincerity, with no deception or pretense. The overriding quality of integrity is wholeness. In fact, the word integrity is derived from the same root word as integer, meaning whole. In other words, no discrepancy exists between what you say and what you do.
People of integrity have nothing to hide and nothing to fear. Integrity is not reputation — the opinion of people about us. Integrity is not success, that is, our accomplishments. Integrity embodies the sum total of our being and our actions. Integrity is not something we have, but who we are.
Our walk must match our talk. To have integrity is to live without duplicity or deceit. When everything is stripped away; our name, reputation, and character are all we have. For the sake of our future and our very lives, a life of integrity is a must.
In the long run, integrity is what really matters. A person of integrity is authentic, honest and guided by his convictions. It inevitably shows itself in what we do and say, including money matters.
The Hall mark of a person of integrity is shown when money in involved. I cannot be said to have integrity until I am seen to show it when money is involved. This is the high point of integrity: Money matters or Finance. It is very important to imbibe this discipline because this will make or mar an individual. Many have been destroyed at the peak of their career and life because of lack of financial integrity.
Is Money evil?
Money is not evil. Money is simply a means of exchange. Money has no capacity for good or evil. Money is very important in our daily life because we are required to provide for our needs as well as cater for the needy. God also acknowledges this hence the scripture tells us that Money answers all things. So, money is not evil,
It is the love of money that is evil. The things people will do for money are the things that may be evil. As with all things, our heart attitude is of great importance to God. Those who chase after riches fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil (1Timothy 6:9-10). What matters is our attitude toward wealth and what we do with it.
Having understood what integrity means and what money also is, we can now discuss financial integrity.
Financial integrity means having a clear conscience and total honesty in all financial dealings. That means not taking advantage of anyone in financial dealings even when the person is ignorant or unaware.
Integrity in money matters has to do with being honest and upright when no one is watching, and ‘’no one is aware’’. It means acting according to biblical principles, even if you think you’ll never get caught, because you know that God is watching and you want to please Him.
Total honesty is telling the truth, even when it hurts, neither cheating nor stealing, even in small things. The opportunity to cheat brings out the “best” in the human ability to rationalize.
The norms when it comes to finance are
It is okay as long as you do not get caught.
It’s not that bad, everyone is doing it
The end justifies the means.
The question arising from the foregoing is whether it is still possible to have financial integrity against the trend. I make bold to say yes if we can:
1. Be content,
2. Be accountable and
3. Build a life of discipline
What is God’s mind about money?
God desires that we prosper and have wealth (3 John 1:2) but that must be through legitimate means. There is no shortcut to this. That is a standard. We are to earn money. God is able to prosper us. We do not have to cheat to have money. God is able to make us wealthy through hard work, diligence and honest means.
What is God’s stand about gambling?
Gambling violates a number of Scriptural principles and must therefore be avoided by Christians.
Here are 6 reasons gambling is wrong:
1. Gambling appeals to and feeds greed. The lure is, “Get something for almost nothing! Strike it rich! Today may be your lucky day!” This is opposed to the contentment which is to mark the Christian and it makes money the focus. But whenever material gain becomes uppermost in our minds, Jesus Christ has been dethroned. Gambling feeds greed. You see somebody win in a gamble and you hear about the guy who wins N1, 000,000 in any form of betting and you think, “That could be me! Think what I could do with all that money!” Your thoughts are seldom, “think of all the missionaries I could support.” But Jesus said, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions” (Luke 12:15).
2. Gambling is opposed to the Christian work ethic. There is a principle in the Scriptures of work and of being rewarded for honest labor (1 Tim. 5:18). Gambling is the idea of getting something for nothing. It treats money lightly (“Easy come, easy go”) instead of attaching the value of labor and the responsibility of stewardship to money.
3. Gambling denies the principle of stewardship. Our money is not ours. All we have is entrusted to us by God, to be managed for Him. We must give an account to Him someday of how we have used the things He has entrusted to us. If I entrusted my funds to you to manage for me while I was on a lengthy trip, would you be a good steward if you gambled with it? Hopefully, you would take good care of it because it did not belong to you. Gambling is opposed to good stewardship.
4. Gambling glorifies risk and chance, and denies God’s sovereignty. Our God is not a God of chance. Evolutionists believe that we are the product of chance, but we believe that we are the product of divine choice. There is no such thing as luck for the Christian. To gamble is to deify luck and chance above the Sovereign God and thus fall into idolatry.
5. Gambling takes advantage of people. It takes advantage of those who lose. To attempt to make a profit out of somebody else’s loss is the antithesis of loving our neighbor. And gambling takes advantage of those who become enslaved to it. To be involved in a practice which enslaves so many and which potentially could enslave you is dangerous at best.
6: Gambling is addictive. Like all addictions, it is easy to start but very difficult to stop.
Thus for these reasons I believe that Christians, as people of financial integrity, should be opposed to all forms of gambling.