Integrity

The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity. (Proverbs 11:3)

We have all seen them, men and women with extraordinary ability and opportunity that sabotage their own success.  These are the people who get in the way of the very things they value, making a fine mess of things.  Politicians do it, as do preachers. Olympic athletes succumb to it and so do housewives. No one is immune to duplicity.

The prophet Jeremiah reminds us that the heart is deceitful, and the person we most often lie to is ourselves. We compartmentalize our affections and pretend that their incompatibility is solved by the separation. Sunday worship is sacred whereas Monday’s endeavors are profane. We celebrate the good and sample the bad, and all the while we fool ourselves into thinking that as long as the defiled is shuttered in, it cannot contaminate the whole.

This segregation is foolish and exceedingly dangerous. The dividing line separating our two lives is an illusion, and inevitably our worlds collide. The resulting agonies are staggering! I believe that this lack of integrity is one of the biggest threats to our homes, our churches, and our community.  If we could weed out these competing agendas from our hearts and settle on a godly track that ran straight, we would live lives that are both satisfying to ourselves, and glorifying to God.

Integrity is more than moral purity or truth telling; it’s about internal cohesion. From a root word that means “intact”, integrity describes a person that experiences agreement and unity in every sphere of life. If we have integrity, our heart is not divided; we are not torn between warring ambitions.  We are whole people, wholly devoted to Christ. Integrity is the opposite of duplicity, and it is increasingly rare.

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9 thoughts on “Integrity

  1. I come from a background where lying to oneself is raised to an art form. We hide behind the masks we wear; competence, beauty, intelligence, talent, etc., often because we do not have that ‘intactness’. I love that term…it implies homogeneity and stability, whereas the opposite (I will call mosaicness), is only as strong as the grout holding it together! Can a mosaic become intact? Yes…through the renewing power of the cross! Like a mosaic, granite is also made up of many parts, but is known for its strength.
    The process of becoming granite is miraculous, but not fun. When we have lived a life of lies, facing the truths about ourselves can be extremely painful….but here’s the glory of it. Through the blood of Christ, we can look at ourselves in truth, but with the knowledge that He will not allow us to remain there, but become sons and daughters of the King, Truth with grace and hope versus truth without? I know what I chose……………

  2. Eugene, excellent thoughts that can also be applied to the church as a whole. The root for Integrity is the same as that for Integration, converging to a wholeness around a value, a proposition, an ideal. Integration in its fullest sense also brings about synergy, the phenomenon of becoming greater than the sum of the individual components.

    Fellowship demonstrates its integrity through its mission and values. We are who we say we are. At the same time, we provide an excellent education for those who are interested in our church based on what they have seen and experienced to ensure that they can commit to the values that cause us to be a church of integrity and hopefully one that is integrated around our mission and values.

    The further step in that process is to periodically remind ourselves of our corporate and individual commitment to those values so that we continue to strive to practice what we believe, so that those compelling relationships we develop through following our mission result in even more irresistable influence in our community and our world.

    I am supposed to be working on my epistemology assignment but this was much more insightful!

  3. So the man in me asks the question, how do we fix it? It takes discipline, a steady dose of the word and the self realization we are made in the image of God and are task with living a life of spiritual significance. Ensuring our behavior and our stated values remain in alignment, even when no one is looking, our heavenly father sees it all. A reverent fear of failing at the foot of the cross might just be the jolt I need to remind me when I stray and my integrity is jeopardized.

  4. Exactly what is integrity? you hear about half truths, if meant to make one stray in their thinking of your response or intentional direction of your words, then how do we truthfully answer when asked, ‘how are you?’ we are saddened, hurt, frustrated, falling, but we respond, ‘fine’ as the person who asked is already out of sight. Why is it that some genders live by the three words, or one simple stated three times, ‘deny’. My heart is breaking with your lies, can you not see? Why you wonder are your children following your path, how could they? Who taught them? I did my best you say, did you?
    True reverence of our Holy Father is not the short time on Sunday, when we have our best face on ‘for others’.(as Eugene stated) Who are we/you on Monday?
    I am what the lack of integrity has done, I am the one truly saddened, hurt, frustrated, struggling to renew ‘my first love’, struggling to think of the pure and the lovely.

  5. I want to comment briefly on the accomplishment of integrity. It isn’t easy and it isn’t quick. We are disinclined to accept the truth of our lives and honesty is hard to find. This is why compelling relationships are so essential to the victorious life. We need those who love us well enough to call us out on the inconsistencies of our life. Ironically, we need outside help to accomplish inner health. What we cannot see in ourselves is often blatantly obvious to those who know us.

  6. The more one exercises integrity the easier it gets. The next thing you know you aren’t asking WWJD. Instead, you have Jesus in your heart as if you ARE Jesus. Beware, if you think you are Jesus you aren’t. Just “Press on. Eyes up.” Thank you Chris Howell.

  7. First of all I can’t believe I’m participating in Khaluma! This is not like me. I’ve been following since it’s beginning. Eugene your response to Stormie’s comment sounds like a description of SoulCare! I’ve been in church all my life and I have never sat in a room of people who are “trying” to “honestly” tell the “truth” about themselves. Maybe there is a comment made like “have you thought of this or that” or “should you do this or not do that” . But, then comes the lull in conversation and it is so LOUD. No one is saying anything and yet it (the lull) means we love you and see you are admitting the duplicity in your life and are “repenting” towards integrity . . . keep your head and heart in scripture, your eyes on Jesus, press on and we are right there with you brother ! I guess I say all of this to remind us that if any group of people need to drop the faces and . . . really I guess the word is pretentions that we hide behind it is the church. We have to have these compelling relationships to survive and move toward integrity; we can’t do it alone! It was never meant to be that way.

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