From my book, “Integrity – The Last Great Battle”

The Loss of Integrity

On Saturday, February 1, 2003 the Columbia space shuttle broke into pieces just 16 minutes away from landing. All 7 of the astronauts died. This tragic event took place, quite possibly, because an individual, or a group of individuals, did not maintain the integrity of the mission.

At the time of this writing, the final analysis of all information that might shed light on the cause for the disaster is not complete. One thing is sure. No one wants to admit that they might be responsible, at least in part.

Enron, World Com, and the many other corporate scandals, all show the great need to resurrect integrity in the market place. Situational ethics reign. No one wants to take responsibility for error, but everyone wants to profit at the expense of others. We live in a society that has lost it’s moral moorings. It appears as though the business owner no longer feels any obligation to care for his employees. Nor is there evidence that many employees feel a responsibility to be their best for their employers. These biblical mandates have been set aside to make room for selfish motives. (Ephesians 6:5; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 3:22; Colossians 4:1; 1 Tim. 6:1-2; Titus 2:9; 1 Peter 2:18)

The collapse of corporations, the loss of the space shuttle, and yes, even the utter destruction of nations follows the breakdown of moral integrity. What starts as a small, seemingly insignificant oversight begins a domino effect that eventually destabilizes everything, and everyone, near or connected to it.

The slightest lie, oversight, postponement, or lapse of attention, will eventually bring about a catastrophic event. We do reap what we sow.

“Be not deceived; … for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” – Galatians 6:7

The Tile Effect

The mission was just sixteen days long. Seven men and women from three nations rode the Columbia into the sky. They would see the creation of God from a perspective that most will never have an opportunity to see. Their goals were noble. The youth of their respective nations saw them as heroes, role models of the highest order.

Their well being, their very lives, rested in the hands of the ground crew. Oh, they had their part to play, but only mission control could see what they could not. A piece of foam, frozen solid and caked with ice broke off and hit the wing. A small thing, “nothing of any significance,” something that had happened before and caused no problem. Just a few tiles broken; a few heat tiles missing. Nothing to worry about. Nothing to pay any attention to.

Really? That was the wing where the problem began. What was the problem? Well, nobody paid any attention to the monitor camera that would have told the story. Someone didn’t think it was important enough to fix the out-of-focus camera. Just a small thing in the midst of a big mission. Oversight? Complacency? Laziness? Who will ever really know? One thing is sure. Seven are dead. Not to mention that the billion dollar Columbia is gone.

Could it be “the tile effect”? A few small tiles missing in an area where the heat of reentry would damage critical systems? Would a higher degree of mission integrity made a difference? We wait to hear.

What small thing have you overlooked? In what situation did you look the other way? Was your integrity breached? Were you unable to stand for what is right? What will your “tile effect” (the principle of sowing and reaping) bring to your life? To the lives of others? How many will die? What will be lost?

“Integrity – The Last Great Battle” is available on and signed copies may be ordered at the Wellspring Resource Center

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