It’s a remarkable story…one small voice helping to start a revolution.
In 2004, Victor Yushchenio stood for President in the Ukraine election, even though he almost lost his life when mysteriously poisoned.
On the day of the election, he was comfortably in the lead when the ruling party tampered with voting results. And state-run television announced, “…Victor Yushchenko has been decisively defeated.”
As the fake news was being announced, in the lower corner of the TV news screen stood a lady translating election results for the deaf. As the official broadcaster regurgitated the regime’s election lies, this courageous lady, Natalia Dmitruk, refused to translate them. Instead, she signed these stirring words to her deaf audience,
“I am addressing all the deaf citizens of Ukraine. They are lying and I’m ashamed to translate those lies. Yushchenko is our president.”
Those words inspired defiant journalists to likewise tell the truth to the Ukrainian people, and over the weeks that followed the “Orange Revolution” took root. A new election was forced, and Victor Yushchenko won the presidency.
Sometimes a single act of courageous integrity can change a nation!
Mark Twain said, “Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”
Here’s what former US President, John Kennedy, once said about integrity.
“When at some future date the high court of history sits in judgment on each one of us whether in our brief span of service we fulfilled our responsibilities to the state (and we could add to our family, our business, our church), our success or failure in whatever office we may hold will be measured by the answers to four questions: were we men of courage, were we men of judgment, were we men of dedication, were we men of integrity?”
Kennedy’s question undoubtedly resonates with God, because the word “integrity” has a special place on His marquee of virtues.
For in Proverbs we read,
“The integrity of the upright guides them,” and “righteousness guards the man of integrity.” Proverbs 10:9, 13:6)
Of Job, it was said,
“There is no one like him. He walks blameless…He maintains his integrity.” (Job 2:3)
King David prayed,
“I know, O God, that you test the heart, and are pleased with integrity,” (1 Chronicles 29:17).
Here’s how Scripture described David who,
“…shepherded them with integrity of heart” (Psalm 78:72)
And the Apostle Paul counsels Titus to,
“In your teaching show integrity.” (Titus 2:7)
I have yet to meet someone in business who has not experienced an integrity test. Sometimes these tests can almost overwhelm us as they assault our conscience and disrupt our serenity.
James Doty had one of those days. He had developed and brought to market the wildly successful Cyberknife technology. Flying high with a new net worth of $75 million, he pledged stock worth $30 million to charity.
But in the dot.com crash, he lost almost everything. His lawyers advised him he could get out of his charity pledge. But Doty decided to follow through on his pledge and give away what remained of his fortune. He kept his commitment.
This is what integrity does. It follows through. It keeps commitments. It stands up for the truth. It plays honestly. It puts others first. It chooses to swim upstream.
Sometime, perhaps sooner than later, another integrity battle will shatter the tranquillity of our lives. And when it does, let’s remember the courageous Ukrainian translator in the lower corner of the TV screen.
“A good name is to be more desired than great riches.”