INTEGRITY - Where are your roots?

THE PROBLEM

Is integrity or the lack of it like sin or breaking the law?  There are big sins, we would never do; murder, grand theft, breaking and entering, cheating on our wife, embezzling for our company, etc. etc.  Yet there are little sins we still do; white lies, selfishness, speeding, coveting (yet not taking), etc. etc.

Most Christians strive to be men of integrity.  At least in the big things.  We wouldn’t defraud a business partner or client or the government, but do we count a few more charitable deductions than we made on our taxes?  We would never steal from our company, yet the desk in our house has a couple of pens and a notepad I brought home from work.  We would never shoplift, but we might keep the extra change the cashier accidentally gave us.

Can you have integrity in the big things yet not in the little things and really have integrity?

THE LOWER END OF THE SCALE

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”

·       Luke 16:10

If we limit our thinking to major matters, we will miss the point that to be trustworthy with much, we must first be trustworthy with little.

·       Extra bottles of shampoo from hotels

·       A bit of office supplies from work at home

·       A blank taxicab receipt for expenses

·       Speeding, but no more than 10 miles per hour over the speed limit

THOU SHALT NOT STEAL

God set forth the ten commandments and lying, cheating and stealing made it into the top ten.  But to break any of His commandments is disobedience (another form of dishonesty or lack of intergrity).

“So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left.  Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land you will possess.”

-          Deuteronomy 5:32-33

Read Matthew 5: 17-38 which ends “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

“Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

-          Romans 12:2

What has this got to do with integrity?

Are your roots grounded in the Word of God?  In Jesus’s teachings?  In the Holy Spirit?  Do those Words and the Holy Trinity sink deep into your roots to hold up your tree of integrity?

 

THE NARROW ROAD

“The most important thing in acting is honesty.  If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

-          George Burns

If no one hears the tree fall in the woods, did it really make a sound?  I can safely go 5-10 miles per hours over the speed limit and never get pulled over, so was I really speeding?  For the last ten years I get this dividend check for $9.71 from MetLife, I never had any dealings with MetLife in my life yet I cash it anyway.  I look in my McDonalds bag and see the fries I didn’t ask for or pay for, I say “thank you” and drive off.

“Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

-          Matthew 7:13-14

“… Who will rescue me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

-          Romans 7:24-25

ONCE AND FOR ALL

One dilemma we all face is whether to be honest on a case-by-case basis.  Many times a day, that choice is presented in countless ways.  It consumes a lot of energy, remembering where we did and didn’t deceive; and like water dripping on a rock, can wear down our character.

Why not once and for all decide we will always be honest, always have integrity.  Always.  Always.  Always.

 

QUESTIONS FOR CONSIDERATION

1.       What is an area of your life in which you struggle with being completely honest and trustworthy?  What are you willing to do about it?

 

2.       Read Leviticus 6:1-5  Is restitution a valid scriptural principle for modern times?  Do you need to make restitution to anyone?

 

3.       What we do when we know we won’t get caught?  Are there things you do that if you were caught you would regret or would have negative consequences?  What are you willing to do differently going forward? 

 

4.       What are you not willing to do?  Is there something this lesson has convicted you of, that you’re not willing to give up yet?

 

5.       Have you settled the issue of integrity once and for all?  If not, will you do so now?  If you already have, what are the results you have seen?

Excerpts taken from Man in the Mirror by Patrick Morley.

Kenneth Gregson