I knew it was the wrong thing to do. But, I wasn’t willing to pay the price for doing the right thing. Besides, I gave the customer exactly what he asked for—a fair market value lease extension. Just like we’d done many times before. This time, however, I noticed a purchase option within the original lease granting them the right to buy the equipment for $250,000 less than the cost of the lease extension. I would soon learn that integrity cannot be bought, but it can be very expensive.
It was easy to rationalize not telling the customer about their purchase option. After all, they leased all their computer equipment, not wanting to carry such assets on their books. And of course, when I told my colleagues about my moral dilemma, they were quick to add fuel to my fire of rationalization. “Are you crazy? You would be a fool to tell them,” they said. So, I went back to calculating my commissions and never said a word…until 15 years later.
The guilt had become unbearable. Rarely did a day go by without being reminded of my transgression. I knew what I had to do, but the thought of doing it made my knees weak. My former customer was now the CFO of a Fortune 100 company…a very rich and powerful man. What if he demanded restitution…with interest? That would be well over $500,000 dollars! No matter. It was time to pursue uncompromised integrity.
I picked up the phone with trembling hands and made the call. “Hello ‘Andy,’” it’s been a long time….” Andy was far more gracious than I deserved him to be. He readily forgave me, excusing my actions as “business as usual” for the fast-paced times we were in back then.
Though I knew my ultimate authority wasn’t so dismissive of my transgression, I was beyond grateful for Andy’s response. As the weight I’d carried for 15 years was lifted from weary shoulders, I lost control of my emotions. Like my Heavenly Father, Andy then became far more concerned with consoling, rather than punishing, me.
Had I not confessed my sin to Andy, it would have continued to rob me of the joy of my salvation, as it had done for 15 long years. The pursuit of uncompromised integrity will lead you to a clear conscience. A priceless commodity that cannot be bought, though it was paid for in full on a cross 2,000 years ago.