A walk (or life) of integrity is a life that works. Life lived without integrity falls apart – literally!
The word “integrity” is usually associated with adherence to a strong code of moral values and principles. The concept is as old as the Garden of Eden, and as fresh as the computer chip that’s allowing you to read this devotion. Integrated circuits work to produce the memory/workings of that iPhone™ or PC. Circuits that tell each other the truth work; circuits that give false information to the rest of the device are what we call a “virus”; a big problem!
To be “integrated” is to be whole, meaning put-together and functioning in cooperation. In human relationships integrity means thoughts, words and actions are all the same. Opposites of the word include “lying, cheating, stealing, broken promises….” And the list goes on, painfully long.
If living a life of integrity means always telling the truth, how, according to the Psalmist, does that make you “joyful”? Especially considering that sometimes telling the truth involves more pain (in the short run) than telling a small lie! Where’s the harm?
The smallest deviation from truth is prevarication (a lie). When President Richard Nixon resigned from office, it was the last act of a failed presidency. The trail led back to a lack of integrity – playing loose with the rules of walking in truth.
Each year theology students at Duke Divinity School attend a required seminar on what kind of integrity is expected in the student concerning their studies and work turned-in. Plagiarism, taking someone else’s words and submitting them as your own, without giving credit to the author, is cause for immediate course failure and dismissal from school.
Isn’t that drastic? Whatever happened to second chances, grace? If a divinity student will lie about the source to his professor, he will lie to a congregation.
Presidents and preachers aside, what about you?
In a marriage, or relationships between cousins and sisters, down to dealings with the neighborhood butcher….every transaction of speech and action is subject to truth. Without it, the integrity of the community begins to break apart like a china cup dropped on a hardwood floor.
This is why Paul wrote:
…we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. Ephesians 4: 15b (NLT)
A life of integrity demands speaking the truth; it’s the joyful, loving way to live.