Consistency in Word and Deed

The need to deal honestly with all others and with oneself has long been a foundational belief among Friends, summarized by the old injunction: “Let your yea be yea and your nay be nay.” For Friends, having integrity means being authentic and having consistency between one’s values and one’s actions. Lack of integrity separates us from our own soul, from the Light within, and from our community.

Quakers try to live according to the deepest truth they know, which they believe comes from God. This means speaking the truth to all, including people in positions of power. Friends do not take oaths when appearing in a court of law, rejecting the idea that there is one standard of truth for daily living and another for the court.

In the AFSC community we are committed to making our words, actions, and beliefs consistent. We “speak truth to power”—and to each other—even when it is difficult and our message may be unpopular. We deal honestly and fairly with colleagues and partners. We take responsibility for our actions and their results. We fulfill our commitments, and we give credit to others for their contributions.

While acting on our deepest beliefs and values, we are also open to new ideas, new solutions, and new paths. We know that our understanding at any moment is incomplete, at best an approximation of the truth that may be improved by new insights.

Quotes

So let your lives preach, let your light shine...
GEORGE FOX, FOUNDER OF THE RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS

Our deepest calling is to grow into our own authentic self-hood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be. As we do so, we will not only find the joy that every human being seeks—we will also find our path of authentic service in the world.
PARKER J. PALMER, QUAKER AUTHOR AND EDUCATOR

It is in our lives and not our words that our religion must be read.
THOMAS JEFFERSON, U.S. PRESIDENT

Knowing others is to be clever.
Knowing yourself is to be enlightened.
Overcoming others requires force.
Overcoming yourself requires strength.

LAO TZU, CHINESE PHILOSOPHER

Wisdom consists in speaking and acting the truth.
HERACLITUS, GREEK PHILOSOPHER

I have long believed that speaking truth is both the simplest way of leading your life and one of the most difficult to achieve.
JUDITH AITCHISON, QUAKER AUTHOR

Queries

How is my work in harmony with the truth as I understand it?

In what ways do my interactions with other people reflect my beliefs and values?

How can I listen with an open mind to others’ experiences

How can I speak my truth so that those who disagree with me can hear it?

How well do I bring my inner life and outer life into wholeness?