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.