Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Importance of Integrity

Scripture Texts: Acts 21:27-40; Proverbs 11

"The Lord detests people with crooked hearts, but he delights in those with integrity."-- Proverbs 11:20.

Integrity is a challenging topic to look at. The danger is that no one fully lives everything they say, so writing about integrity should be done with a great amount of humility and care. The writer of the proverb was taking a grand look at the spectrum of integrity and a crooked heart. Realizing we all live somewhere in between.

It is fascinating to see the writer juxtapose integrity and a crooked heart. Upon first reflection the two do not appear to be the opposites like so many of the other comparisons around them in Proverbs 11. When we take time to dig more deeply however, we find that a lack of integrity really is a matter of the condition of our heart. If our heart is bent on seeking only our own benefit with no regard for other persons, or for God, then integrity is not important.

For those who are Christ followers, and others for that matter, integrity is a crucial lifestyle. Yes, integrity is a lifestyle not a characteristic, or a trait, it is a lifestyle. One where the words we use are consistent with the actions we take. A lifestyle where our beliefs, words and actions are all in alignment. This means if you have chosen to be a Christ follower, your words and actions are in alignment with the teachings and life of Jesus.

In marriage, as with all relationships, integrity takes on a whole new level of importance. We find integrity is small ways, being home when we said we would be home, doing the chores around the house we said we world, or treating your spouse the same in public as you do behind closed doors. Integrity becomes the lifestyle of a marriage when we live the claims we make about our marriage, and about our spouse.

When integrity is lacking, there is an erosion of trust. Without trust it is impossible to cultivate a deep and lasting relationship. This does not mean we can never fail. It means that when we fail, we own it and are humble enough to seek forgiveness. Integrity is found in owning up to our mistakes and misalignment rather than ignoring it or covering it up. It is far better to admit we have blown it, seek the appropriate forgiveness, and then attempt to live with integrity in greater ways.

Please know we do not write this as people who get this right every time. Our past is littered with times when we had a lapse of integrity. That is the danger of writing this post. Yet, we are people who are doing our level best to live with integrity the life of Christ by which we have chosen to live. Additionally, we are working hard at living a marriage that is marked by integrity toward each other, the world and the God we serve.

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