Main Point: There are always consequences to our lack of integrity…even when they’re not immediate. And besides, God wants us to do the right thing, even when no one else is looking.
Discussion Starter: The Stray Path
This humorous and short little video certainly qualifies as “homemade” but it does teach a strong lesson about integrity. Basically, a young man in med school finds himself in need of answers on a test, over and over again. You may be surprised by what he does, and what happens as a result.
I think my favorite part of this video is when the two guys are signaling each other using “slightly overboard” hand signals.
OK, that wasn’t exactly Steven Spielberg quality, but I think you get the point. Just like the guy in the video, you and I must do the right thing. Matt decided to cheat on a test, and it got him into a bad habit, which then got him into trouble. Fortunately, we found out at the end, that he was just daydreaming, and he eventually chose to do the right thing.
I want us to leave here understanding one simple truth: There are always consequences to our lack of integrity even if they’re not immediate. God wants us to do the right thing, even if no one is looking, so let’s spend a few minutes trying to figure out how to do that.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and whether you’ve ever seen anyone cheat on a test in school.
- ASK A FEW: At the very beginning of the film, did you think he was going to cheat? Why or why not?
- ASK A FEW: What did his decision to cheat cost him?
- ASK A FEW: What did it cost others?
- ASK A FEW: Do you think most people cheat or not?
- ASK A FEW: How do you define integrity?
- ASK A FEW: What are some examples of poor integrity?
- ASK A FEW: What do you think God’s Word has to say about integrity?
Read the following passage:
Proverbs 12:12-22 (NIV)
The wicked desire the plunder of evil men, but the root of the righteous flourishes. 13 An evil man is trapped by his sinful talk, but a righteous man escapes trouble. 14 From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him. 15 The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice. 16 A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult. 17 A truthful witness gives honest testimony, but a false witness tells lies. 18 Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. 19 Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment. 20 There is deceit in the hearts of those who plot evil, but joy for those who promote peace. 21 No harm befalls the righteous, but the wicked have their fill of trouble. 22 The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.
Nobody thinks it’s easy to do the right thing all the time. If it were, many more of us would do it, right!? But, the truth is, it’s often difficult to do the right thing, and it’s often difficult to avoid doing the wrong thing.
But as we turn to God’s Word, we find direction for how to live, with clear warnings for every path we could take. We were told tonight that an honest, righteous life will have its rewards, but a dishonest, wicked life will be filled with pain. The choice is up to us, just like the guy in the video from earlier.
Some of us need to make a decision tonight to steer ourselves away from wickedness and unrighteousness. Bow your heads and close your eyes—I’m going to pray. If some of you know that you need to make a decision to steer away from a situation where you will face temptations to cast away your integrity, then make that decision tonight. After I close us up in prayer, please hang around to talk with myself or one of our adult leaders.
Close in Prayer
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Guy's Guide to FOUR BATTLES Every Young Man Must Face; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.