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The headlines over the last month have reminded us again of the true condition of our culture. One after another we have seen celebrity and media personalities be exposed for their dark sides and darker secrets. The tragedy goes much farther than the abuse many have experienced, horrible as that is. Now, marriages, families, careers, and friendships are splintered because of double lives and false realities. It truly is a travesty. But before we start throwing stones we must recognize that all of us face the exact same stakes everyday. Surely, no one sets out to become a heinous pervert or out of control, abusive person. That is never the goal. It all starts with small compromises, tiny secrets and destructive patterns that we choose to conceal and not expose. Every time we ‘get away with it’ we allow the disease to grow even greater by feeling justified in our secrecy. Over time, that becomes a habit, which becomes a practice, which becomes a controlling behavior. Living a fragmented life where you constantly have to keep up a facade is not only deceptive, it is exhausting. However, there is a tool to fix this fracturing of the soul. That tool is called integrity.
Let me be clear… this isn’t some ‘holier than thou’ treatise on how bad some people are and how much better the rest of us are. This is a reminder that integrity has very real, practical applications and advantages for us all in the real world. With anxiety on the rise in nearly every demographic and segment of society, living a consistent life will help cure much of the stress caused from trying to keep your worlds from colliding. Integrity is more than some academic, straight-laced, buttoned down stuffiness. Integrity is a weapon against duplicity, anxiety, fear and manipulation. In a world dominated with skepticism and accusation, living a life with no skeletons in the closet is a true asset. Beyond that it provides peace and comfort to you and those closest to you. (Click Here To Read My Post ‘Spend More Time With Your Temptations’)
Crunching the Numbers
The word integrity comes from the word integer which is a mathematical term. An integer is a whole number. Not 2 1/2 or 7.98, no, an integer is undivided. The word integrity tells us what we can expect from having applied it’s truth. Integrity yields an undivided, whole person. Where you find a lack of integrity you find a fractured man. There is the part on the left of the decimal that he wants everyone to see, and then there are all the numbers on the other side of the decimal that show how fragmented of a person he truly is. Living with a whole heart and a whole conviction is truly a great weapon against self destruction. So how do we do it? I mean, no one is perfect, right? (Click Here to Read My Post ‘Confessions of a Recovering Idealist’)
I think it is this idealistic argument of perfection that keeps many people from accepting integrity as a realistic practice. It is true that no one is perfect. However, perfection is not the goal, integrity is the goal. A person of integrity is not one who never makes a mistake, she is just one that will own it quickly and not justify it as acceptable. Integrity is about honesty and accountability, not perfection. When we hide behind the ‘no one is perfect’ façade, we are simply giving ourselves an ‘out’ to be able to indulge in things we know aren’t wholesome or helpful. You may enjoy the indulgence in the moment, but you live in the shadows from there on, trying to hide or justify something you aren’t proud of to begin with not to mention the pain it can cause others. It is a miserable state of being. I know, because I’ve been there before. Perhaps you have too? (Click Here to Read My Post ‘Drowning In Our Own Judgement’)
Hide and Seek
Integrity requires us to be known. We must be in relationship with people who know us for who we really are and love us enough to challenge us to grow and be better. As scary as it may seem to be fully known for all of your flaws you have no idea how freeing it actually is to not have to hide, lie and be defensive all the time. Living a life constantly covering your tracks is way more fear-ridden than being fully known. In the garden of Eden, God called to Adam and Eve after they had sinned, not because He didn’t know where they were or what they had done, but to give them the opportunity to confess, to be fully known, and to receive His love. He wanted to keep them from hiding behind their fig leaves for the rest of their lives. Do you hear His call today? (Click Here To Read My Post ‘Adam, Eve and the Internet’)
We can overcome the most amazing of challenges when we are living a whole life with a whole heart. Integrity is the tool we need to get us there. No rational person expects you to be perfect so don’t expect it of yourself. However, people do expect you to be accountable. I have way more respect for the person that can quickly own and acknowledge their sin and shortcoming than I do the person that excuses it away as non-existent or somehow not a problem, allowing it to grow into a destructive force. You may not be proud of everything you’ve done, but you can be proud of who you are when you live fully in the light, owning your mistakes early on and becoming accountable for them. It is impossible to do on your own. We simply aren’t that strong. But when we invite the God of love to help us all things are possible. God is for you today and so am I.
From the Bible
Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out. – Proverbs 10:9 NIV
The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity. – Proverbs 11:3 NIV
Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. – 2 Corinthians 4:2-3 NIV
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