Thursday, July 16, 2009

Standing in Integrity

One of my favorite shirts says "Stand in Integrity."
Integrity is a word that means a lot to me. Perhaps because in my life I've encountered so many people without it. Something I've learned from all the things that have happened to me over the years: what NOT to do and how NOT to treat people. If nothing else, I've gotten that out of my mess.
Integrity is defined as: adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty. But I have always thought of it in a simpler definition: Say what you mean, mean what you say, BE who you seem. When I 1st began teaching, I made that into a sign and hung it over my desk to remind me how to deal with colleagues and students alike.
Its sometimes really hard to have integrity in today's world, isn't it? Even just today I had to REALLY deal with the temptation to compromise my integrity as I wanted SO badly to spread some gossip about something "bad" I know about someone. All day I wanted to inform some people about some "behind the scenes info" that I know about someone that they don't... "you don't know the whole story, you see...just let me tell you what I know..." By the time evening came around, I was in the bathroom rebuking demons and telling the devil to take a hike to the cross and get dealt with by Jesus, shut up and get out of my head. Thankfully, God came to my aide once again.
Jesus had integrity. He was honest and told things as they are, even to the point of offending people who didn't want to hear what he had to say. But he stood on his moral principles, which were appointed to him by God. As God's Son, it was his job, and I would imagine that it was his pleasure to do so because he was a good man.
As a follower of Jesus Christ, it is also my job to have integrity. It is to be part of my own honor code: I must be honest, I must mean what I say and say what I mean. I need to not wear a mask (which is something I have a hard time with). I must be who I seem to be. That means my insides must match my outsides. That's a whole other post in itself! I think, however, that if we want a model of integrity, we need to look to Jesus.

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