an essay on the word probity and integrity, listing examples of each.
| “Simper Fidelis”. In Latin it means always faithful; linked to the word: Probity. After a long hard day in a cold world, the word probity at first does not make my heart rejoice. But after further research I have decided it is the lack of comprehending such words that make this world so cold. That is why I have decided to write this essay on the word probity and how the use of it can literally change the world.
It’s such a simple word, probity. It sounds a little common, but is actually one of the most beautiful words in the English language. Some of it’s synonyms are: Integrity, uprightness, honesty, faith, honor, purity, dignity, justice, virtue, constancy, fidelity, loyalty, and chivalry. All of those words by themselves are strong good words that inspire the hearer to act accordingly. But to truly know the word and to hear the echo of it in your heart it is important to see the word in action.
In the American Heritage Dictionary under the fine word, probity, the first word it lists is integrity. It means moral soundness, completeness, one’s being blameless and faultless. It is usually a word used to describe God in the scriptures, translated as perfect, manifesting completeness and fullness. Integrity requires uncompromising loyalty to God and adherence to righteousness, not only during good times, but under all conditions and times and it is most evident when under test.
The quality of integrity is mentioned in one of the oldest books preserved to our day. In Psalms 19:1 of the American standard version of the holy scriptures it states: “ Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity than he that is perverse in his lips and is a fool.” So it is integrity that makes a person of genuine worth, meriting respect; not money or their position. But do we truly see this quality in the world? Has integrity died out?
I think integrity is more alive today than ever before. I see it in the world when a single mother works hard to care for her children. I see it in the school teachers who go to work each day eager to teach young children. In fire fighters who risk their lives to save those in need of their help. Integrity is a code of conduct, a rule by which you live your life. I see it when I watch the men in pristine blue uniforms and bearing shiny badges protecting our streets, keeping order.
Most of all I see it in the eyes of those oppressed. Those who stand up for what they believe. Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, and countless others who behold a dream and vow in their hearts to live accordingly. In such people integrity is something of value. It motivates them to action. It effects not only their life, but the lives of all around them. There is one group, however, that has experienced persecution around the globe because they refuse to compromise their religious beliefs.
In the 87 year book of Jehovah’s Witnesses this quote is found: “One report from Africa exemplifies the integrity-keeping spirit that is so outstanding among Jehovah’s Witnesses: “In spite of arrests, beatings, and imprisonments, our courageous brothers and sisters continue to give an ever bigger witness, especially in the interior. The sterling examples of faithful overseers incite the brothers to fine works. In January the first circuit was officially organized. The circuit overseer had himself been imprisoned for several months but was released just before the district convention. Even new ones are not afraid to be arrested for practicing the way of truth.” Africa is not the only place where these law abiding people are having their integrity tested.
The courageous Christian stand of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany and other lands dominated by Adolf Hitler is a matter of record. A notable event in Berlin, Germany, in 1933 illustrates their courage, their love for God and neighbor, and their respect for law, order, and religious freedom.
In WW II Adolf Hitler launched a campaign to annihilate Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany. In The History of Mauthausen Concentration Camp it states : “There existed a group of people in Mauthausen Concentration Camp who were persecuted on Religious grounds only: members of sect “Earnest Bible Students” or Witnesses of Jehovah...their rejection of the loyalty oath to Hitler and their refusal to render any kind of military service- a political consequence of their belief, were the reason for their persecution.”
Thereafter the Nazi State unleashed one to the most barbaric persecutions of Christians in recorded history. Thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses were thrown in concentration camps. They were beaten, treated harshly and cruelly, and used as guinea pigs in medical experiments.
The Holocaust Museum acknowledges the intense persecution of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. “The Nazi rule of terror inflicted a heinous slaughter on millions of victims especially Jews and Slavs. However, Jehovah’s Witnesses unitedly refused to bow the knee to the Nazi regime, not because of race or nationality, but because of their conscientious adherence to Bible principles.
The Nazi State focused intense persecution on Jehovah’s Witnesses—an onslaught out of all proportion to their numbers. Why? The Witnesses, for religious reasons, refused membership and service in the German Labor Front and rejected any oath to Hitler as Führer. The Nazis thus banned them as an organization in April 1933. Accused of both civil and religious disobedience, they were among the first groups to be thrown into concentration camps. “Ultimately, more than 30,000 Witnesses were persecuted by the Nazis,” states a museum newsletter.”
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, located in Washington, D.C., is dedicated to presenting the story of all groups persecuted by the Nazis, including Jehovah’s Witnesses. One source states that the museum “should be of particular interest to Americans and foreign visitors of the Jewish and Jehovah’s Witness religions that were targeted for genocide by the Hitler regime.” Through artifacts, documents, videotaped eyewitness testimony, historical photographs, and film footage, the wartime experiences of various victimized groups are included in the museum’s exhibition, library, and archives. The museum has videotaped interviews with 74 of Jehovah’s Witnesses who were victims of Nazi rule. The museum opened to the public in April 1993.
Unlike many who were imprisoned by Hitler, Jehovah Witnesses were repeatedly promised release from camps if they only signed a declaration renouncing their beliefs. All but a few Witnesses proved unbreakable in their integrity. These amazing people showed love to one another, not embittered by their trials, but remaining loyal to their beliefs-keeping integrity. A perfect example of the word probity in action.
It leads me to wonder... “If I was told not to practice my beliefs would I remain faithful? Would I be able withstand any trial set before me? Would I be an integrity keeper?” But then I remember that beautiful word: probity. It means integrity being a person of honor, faithfulness, reliable, steadfast, incorruptible, and loyalty. If I displayed those qualities like millions before me, then I too, could remain faithful under trial.
Today Jehovah’s Witnesses are still around, preaching the good news found in the bible. Faithfully they follow a spiritual routine and strive each day to be faithful to their God, Jehovah. No amount of persecution could ever stop them. And that is why I think they are the best example of probity.
Look around in the world. Do you see faithfulness? Honesty, Virtue, Justice? If you do then you are seeing the after affects of one little word. Like ripples in a pond- one act of probity causes a dozen ripples...imagine if everyone strived to show this quality in everyday life? Then everywhere you turned you’d see hard working families, Faithful law enforcers, Justice raining down upon the streets, and a sense of peace among all people. A knowledge that your neighbor is faithful and true.
What a contrast from the world that surrounds us today! People are self consumed with advancing in life- acquiring more money and more prestige. They forget the simpler things. Marriages quickly end in divorce, children are forced into the world of adults way too young. Crime and violence are found daily in the news. And in many cases you do not even know the name of your neighbor, much less trust them.
So I make an appeal to all today. Throw a pebble into the pond of life. Choose a synonym of the word probity. Be it honesty, integrity, loyalty, and use it in your life. Not only will you be happier , but like Martin Luther King Rosa Parks, Jehovah’s Witnesses, all other integrity keepers you will make an impact on the world.
And that is why probity is my new favorite word. Because it is above reproach and it motivates me to action. To be a better person and to see a better world now and in the future. Simper Fidelis.