Integrity to Stand Firm to the End

I just finished watching Serpico with Al Pacino. I wish they still made the product “Curse Free” though, a lot of rough language. The story is (from the Netflix cover), “based on the real-life story of New York City undercover cop Frank Serpico (an honest man who was grievously wounded for refusing to take part in the corruption forced upon him by his peers)…”

In the movie, Serpico is first amazed, then concerned, then distraught, then finally moved to desperation and action to do something about the prevailing culture of corruption in the police department. There is a line in the move by his girlfriend Laura when he asks her if he is the only one who cares about the situation. She says rather blithely, “Everybody knows about cops”. And I might add a whole lot of other professions that could be stereotyped for their corruption, greed and unrighteous use of power, position and authority.

In the end, Serpico realized that there is not one person to stand with him in his fight; not one fellow officer or superior, not the police chief, the police commissioner, the mayor, nobody. Even his girlfriend who seems to admire his integrity and character wants him to quit standing for righteousness. He is looking for encouragement and strength to go on in his battle and he turns to her for support. She does not outright tell him to give it up, instead she tells him the following fable. She might as well have told him to curse God and die. Here is the story (not as she told it but as I found it through Google):

The Wise King and the Well

Once there ruled in the distant city of Wirani a king who was both mighty and wise. And he was feared for his might and loved for his wisdom.

Now, in the heart of that city was a well, whose water was cool and crystalline, from which all the inhabitants drank, even the king and his courtiers; for there was no other well.

One night when all were asleep, a witch entered the city, and poured seven drops of strange liquid into the well, and said, “From this hour he who drinks this water shall become mad.”

Next morning all the inhabitants, save the king and his lord chamberlain, drank from the well and became mad, even as the witch had foretold.

And during that day the people in the narrow streets and in the market places did naught but whisper to one another, “The king is mad. Our king and his lord chamberlain have lost their reason. Surely we cannot be ruled by a mad king. We must dethrone him.”

That evening the king ordered a golden goblet to be filled from the well. And when it was brought to him he drank deeply, and gave it to his lord chamberlain to drink.

And there was great rejoicing in that distant city of Wirani, because its king and its lord chamberlain had regained their reason.

He (the king) did not drink deep to madness, he drank deep to conformity. For some strange reason people think that the safest place to live is in the mob of madmen – those who have lost first their integrity, then their reason, then their mind – all in the name of group consensus. This is the exact same type of mentality (emphasis on mental) of those who crucified Christ. It is the same thinking of those who go along with corruption and lies. And in case you didn’t see this coming, it is the same cliquishness fostered, nurtured, protected and defended in the religious houses of false doctrine. For some reason people are anathema to stand against something that everyone else is for, to stand on what they profess or believe to be truth.

Well let me make it clear, Christians, the ones worth their salt (still being salty) are not afraid to stand for what they believe. If they are, then they just really don’t believe what they confess. It is a belief of convenience, not conviction. I wonder if it was convenient for Jesus the Christ to stand before the angry mobs and tell them what they didn’t want to face or hear. “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” Matt. 10.32,33.

The world will never see the Light of the Truth if we hide it under a bushel. Therefore, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matt. 5:16.

It is difficult to stand against the culture of this world system but if you really believe what you confess, you will do it. No more mob mentality. You can no more hide in a mob than you can be hidden at the bottom of the ocean. God sees you, individually and responsible for every act you perform and every thought you think and every word you speak or fail to speak.

I am not speaking of judgment before God for those who are not Christians, I am speaking about standing before the judgement seat of Christ. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” 2 Cor. 5:10.

We need more integrity like that of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed–nego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.  If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.  But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” Daniel 3:16-18.

Now that is faith. That is pleasing to God. There is a great (and eternal I might add) reward this kind of faith.

In the end of the movie, Serpico is left alone to fight the graft and corruption surrounding him. His fellow officers withdrew their support and fed him to the lions as it were. They withdrew at the time of the battle and he was shot point blank in the face. Finally others came out of hiding and were willing to stand with him and fight the system. He gave courage to others to stand. As a result all police departments now have a special commission to investigate and prosecute inappropriate use of power and authority.

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Eph. 6:10-13.

All true believers have integrity to stand firm to the end. “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.  Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.” Luke 6:22-23.