By Elder Gerald DeForest Tyler Integrity Is So Very Precious,” if you have it, then don’t lose it at all cost for nothing! I can assure you that it will be awfully difficult to regain or restore as it were. It’s somewhat similar or akin to gaining the whole world while in the process of that actual gaining you lose your precious soul – don’t do it! About this time last month, I also wrote about integrity to some extent, but I did so primarily or most specifically with professional sports competition in mind with regard to teammates being able to trust, rely, and depend upon each other for their various contributions to the game. But here and now in this column, my primary focus is on the concept of integrity in general as we go through life. Oftentimes when I think of integrity and just how meaningfully precious and significantly important it is in our personal lives, or certainly should be; I also think of other very important concepts or perhaps even virtues that we should possess and cherish. For example, like love for our fellow man, wisdom, trust, honesty, knowledge, understanding, and yes, even the value of human life which is rather scarce and suspect today. When a 21-year old (or young) white man can go into a predominantly African-American church Bible study and prayer service and sit among the parishioners for an hour, and then moments later rise-up and proceed to shoot and kill at least nine people in the service, that tells me human life is valueless in the hearts and minds of some people today! Let me get back to the concept of integrity. How very precious is it really? Here in the year of 2015 already, we’ve had a number of instances where on a national and perhaps even international level, integrity has become an extremely “hot topic” of discussion among millions. Your integrity as well as your word, which is your bond, ought to be something that you cherish, safeguard, and protect with your life if I can express it that way. They’re just that important and precious with regard to whom you really are! Let me mention just two instances of which you’ve probably heard involving individuals whose integrity has been challenged, called into serious questioning, and yet resulting in negative consequences. Of course I speak of NBC’s Brian Williams, the now former anchor of that network’s “Nightly News” program. Incidentally, congratulations are to be offered up to Lester Holt who has been promoted to the anchor seat. He’s the first African-American male to solo anchor “NBC’s Nightly News.” Keep your integrity at all cost Lester! And also, Rachel Dolezal, the former president of the Spokane, Washington branch of the NAACP. Williams’ and Dolezal’s integrity came under fire and national scrutiny because of some highly questionable and intentionally perceived misleading statements they made. In other words and quite frankly stated, they’re believed to have lied on several occasions in hopes of embellishing and further enhancing their own cause. Well, in either the short or long-term, lying definitely has negative and harmful consequences and it seems that these two individuals chose to learn that the hard way. Both of them lost significant positions in which they were serving as well as having to now suffer in numerous other ways, not to mention probably the inescapable permanent damage done to their personal reputations. Included in this overall damaging process is the loss of their integrity, which by-the-way, neither of them may ever regain. Hold on to your integrity and don’t ever lose it. About the only thing I can think of at the moment pursuant to a loss being worse than your integrity – would be your soul. “Integrity Is So Very Precious.” The only thing more precious than your integrity is your eternal soul! To Lester Holt and all the rest of you, I say, even if it does mean gaining the whole world, don’t lose your integrity nor your soul – it’s just not worth it. “Grace and mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied!” Gerald D. Tyler, an ordained elder with senior pastoral experience, has been a God-called practicing minister since 1977 teaching and preaching the salvation gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.