Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Presence of Integrity

Do whatever it takes to deal with the issues of integrity in your life. Do whatever it takes to walk in purity (truth & authenticity).

I remember the first time I heard the word integrity and actually took it to heart. I was a sophomore at Oral Roberts University, and I was walking with a friend who was sharing with me their concept of leadership. I remember our time together being very fruitful because I walked away from the conversation challenged about being a leader and about this word called integrity. At the time (and a little while after), I thought integrity only meant, "who you are when no one is looking," but it wasn't until recently that I learned it means so much more. Besides ethics and moral character, I learned through a word study that integrity means 'integer' or the state of being whole. Integrity is huge in relationships, finances, friendships and even our walk with the Lord. A person of integrity is a person of their word; they are ruthlessly honest. And being ruthlessly honest means having a healthy fear of God. It means that you love God more than your desire to disappoint man... As I try to live my life after Christ, with no walls and as transparent as possible, I've got to share that a few months ago, those few principles was not only a reminder, but a stern wake-up call for me.

There was an area in my life where I lived life thinking I've been integral in certain situations when I have not. My word fell through on certain promises, I had not been faithful in certain situations and I certainly had not been ruthlessly honest with myself, others or the Lord. I've even told a little "white lie" before - you know that kind of lie that is partially the truth, but not really. For example, it's a "white lie" when you tell a friend you can't hang out because you have other plans, when really, you do not and you just want to avoid them. Or, calling your boss to tell them you're late because of traffic when actually you're late because you decided to sleep in 15 extra minutes or because you wanted to finish watching Good Morning America. "White lies" slip in in instances where you really don't want to tell your friend the whole truth because you're afraid that they'll not want to be your friend anymore, so you tell a partial truth in good faith. You do the right thing the wrong way. In essence, all "white lies" do is cloud the presence of integrity. "White lies" are what I call silent assassins because they leave seeds that eventually grow to quench the root of internal integrity - when the Holy Spirit convicts, we hear and we obey it.

Growing up, my mother would always tell me, "Terri, swear to your own hurt and change not." "What does that even mean?!" I would think. I didn't see it then, but even as a child, my mother was teaching me about the presence of integrity; she was actually quoting scripture. The latter part of Psalm 15:4 says, "...He swears to his own hurt and does not change." It means, be a person who makes firm on commitments and do not change. Speak the truth outwardly and in your heart. Even if it hurts, do what you say you're going to do. Forgive and then model that forgiveness by not changing, reneging or keeping record of wrongs. Being firm.

As I move towards a greater presence of integrity in my life, I know that God's grace is sufficient. It makes me cry every time I think of it. Even when we mess up, we get to try again. And, although grace is there, God also holds us accountable to His standards; walking in integrity is part of the fabric of God, being truthful is a part of His standard(s). In this instance of integrity, developing a healthy fear of God will keep us mindful of "white lies." We'll not want to tell them; instead, we'll want the truth to pour out of us because that's all that's in us. Practice purity because purity is not an absence of evil, but a presence of light.

What's your biggest struggle with integrity? Are you a person of integrity? Do you keep your word? Are you transparent and honest with others and with God?

Be faithful. Keep moving forward.

"The integrity of the upright will guide them..." Proverbs 11:3


Anonymous said...

Wow, your an amazing writer!! This post is filled with so much truth and heart and I completely enjoyed reading this not to mention that it gives me a lot to think about and strive for. You are incredible!! Stay blessed! : )

Anonymous said...

Love your blog Terri! So glad I checked it out. Love You Girl!

Anonymous said...

T, this is SO GOOD! Your heart and writing makes it even better :) Integrity is huge with me and I don't think I'll ever stop learning how to walk in it. Integrity is a beautiful thing!!! Love you, beautiful. Keep being pensive and open-- I like the results I get to benefit from :)

kristinadair said...

Um ma'am can you just preach it already?! Pastor Dan's teaching in leadership class + your words = cemented thoughts of God!

:) love love