A recent survey
found that 92% of Americans aged 18-24 "value honesty and integrity, saying they believe that doing the right thing is more important than getting ahead in their careers." The survey's sponsor was Jim Lichtman, an author and ethics specialist who wrote in a press release on the survey
"Ultimately, however, ethics is not about what we say or what we intend, it’s about what we do,” says Jim Lichtman. Given a choice between Loyalty and Honesty, almost half of those surveyed (43%) would compromise their integrity for the sake of a friend. Given a choice between having an unethical relationship within the company, 32% would disregard company rules. And, given the right circumstances, 46% would look the other way or encourage unethical sales tactics in order to meet sales needs. “Do ethics still matter? Clearly most 18-24 year-olds believe they do,” Lichtman says. “Yet, when values conflict many show a readiness to compromise.”
Lichtman quotes respected ethicist Michael Josephson in noting that, ‘Ethics is having the character and the courage to do the right thing even when it costs more than we want to pay.’ “If we want to build long-term trusting relationships,” says Lichtman, “each of us should strive to make a stronger commitment to practice the kinds of ethical values many of our grandparents have lived by – honesty, integrity, loyalty, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.”
Lichtman said, "Ultimately, however, ethics is not about what we say or what we intend, it’s about what we do." Jesus said,
"But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, 'Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.' The son answered, 'No, I won't go,' but later he changed his mind and went anyway. Then the father told the other son, 'You go,' and he said, 'Yes, sir, I will.' But he didn't go. Which of the two was obeying his father?" They replied, "The first, of course."—Matthew 21:28-31a
Jesus says that your actions matter more than any unfulfilled promises. This is something like the saying, "Your actions are speaking so loudly that I can't hear a word you are saying."