For the last few years, I’ve seen some issues in my life that lacked integrity. And I’ve been challenged to live with complete integrity in my life. This has always gone on in my life for a variety of reasons.
When I was a kid, the phone would ring and one of my parents would say, “Tell them I’m not home.” Or As we prepared to go to the beach for the weekend, I was told, “Don’t tell Grandma and Grandpa that we are going to the beach. We owe them money and they wouldn’t understand why we are going and not paying them instead.” Or the “Tell them you are only 12 so we can get the discount.” Or “Tell your mom we’ll be home in about 10 minutes”, when in fact we were at least 30 minutes away.
I’m certainly not meaning to throw shade on my parents. We must each decide what we are going to do with the issue of integrity. I made a decision a few years ago, though, that I didn’t want to live like that. I know a few years ago, when I decided I wanted to live by complete honesty and a particular issue about my kids came up with an extended family member. And literally all hell broke loose and the relationship between that person and me has never fully recovered. I don’t know if it ever will. I still believe I did the right thing. I do think the devil was trying to convince me that living with integrity is stupid, because it causes problems. I am not giving in on this one.
But when I think of integrity, I think back to my pre-marriage counseling. I was told that to increase my integrity, I should make sure and stop at all stop signs, drive the speed limit, don’t go home with a pencil from work and to keep things really simple. My counselor was telling me, small things make a big difference.
So, buying that candy bar and paying for the gas at the same time, hides from anyone that you’ve bought that candy bar isn’t full of integrity. Telling someone their new hairdo looks pretty, when in reality it makes them look like a drowned rat lacks integrity.
It used to be that when a man shook your hand, it sealed the deal. You didn’t need paperwork, lawyers, etc. Why? Because you could trust the man’s integrity. But that’s the world we live in today. Politicians lie, companies lie, people lie because they just think it will go better for them if they do.
But when you have a 5-year-old that lies about what he’s just done or not done, it’s not pretty and it is going to lead someplace bad if it’s not corrected. It’s going to lead bad places for a 5-year-old, for a 45-year-old or even a 75-year-old. Integrity matters.
Proverbs 10:18 (NCV)
18 Whoever hides hate is a liar.
Whoever tells lies is a fool.
Proverbs 12:19 (NCV)
19 Truth will continue forever,
but lies are only for a moment.
Proverbs 12:22 (NCV)
22 The Lord hates those who tell lies
but is pleased with those who keep their promises.
How about we take the time this Christmas season to prepare to tell the truth. I am going to do that. I want to be a man of integrity. I pray this prayer every day that I will be characterized by integrity. I’ve seen God work miracles in my life. I can’t say I’ve fully arrived, but I have made steady progress.
Could we be like Job and make the vow:
Job 27:4 (NCV)
4 my lips will not speak evil,
and my tongue will not tell a lie.