Pastor Larson’s Corner: Integrity

Pastor Larsons Corner

Honesty, integrity, and compassion are moral values that we talk a lot about in our religious communities. We try to teach these values to our children and we seek to model them in our daily lives. Convincing our children and grandchildren that these values are important may have just become a bit easier because of the results of some groundbreaking research.

Fred Kiel, a longtime executive coach for businesses of all sizes, recently published a book entitled Return on Character. In his book Kiel says that his research shows a connection between ethical leadership and a company’s success and performance. His book concludes that corporate leaders of high integrity and compassion provide better financial returns for their shareholders than self-absorbed CEOs. Kiel discovered that leaders at all levels have higher success rates if they demonstrate high moral character. Whether a leader heads a large corporation, a university, or a grade school, success at the job depends to a large degree upon integrity.

None of this should come as too great a surprise to us. We have always been aware that success of any kind in this life grows out of dynamic and meaningful human relationships. A successful marriage, family, church, or business always comes down to people relating to each other in loving and positive ways. We all know individual leaders in our communities who live lives of unquestionable integrity. These leaders are able to motivate people and indeed entire institutions to seek both success and greatness. Of course, we do not promote ethical and moral behavior just so people can be successful. We do so in order to work towards a more equitable, just, and fair society. Having the business world discover the importance of these core moral values lends another layer of credibility to something we have always believed to be true.

Pastor Larson’s Corner is written by Jerry Larson and appears weekly in the Norwegian American Weekly.

Pastor Jerry Larson retired to his cabin in Zimmerman, Minn., after 39 years in parish ministry for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In 2011 he published a book entitled “Speaking the Word Freely: Writing with purpose, preaching with power.” Contact him at

This article originally appeared in the July 10, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.