Jump Start # 2369
Proverbs 10:9 “He who walks in integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will be found out.”
Walking in integrity. We think of Honest Abe Lincoln or George Washington, who couldn’t tell a lie. Today, we wonder if any politician can tell the truth. Integrity means to be honest, ethical, above board, doing what is right. That’s where God wants us to walk. This is the steps of a righteous man. Many may talk a good story, but their character and their walk will show what they are really like. The one who is honest has nothing to fear. Let the auditors in. Let the police point the radar gun at him. Analyze him, examine him, open the books. There is nothing hidden. He’s clean. He’s truthful. He’s honest. Nothing shady. Nothing suspicious. Nothing in the closet except clothes. No secrets. No double life. Honest in his marriage. Honest to God.
Walking in integrity allows one to sleep well. His conscience is clear and clean. The honest person doesn’t have to have a great memory, the liar does. He tells so many lies that he has to remember what he said and where he said it. It will catch up with him. The man of integrity will keep his word. A handshake and a promise and you know he’ll be there. At work, it’s a full day for the man of integrity. There’s no playing games on the computer when he ought to be working. In worship, he’s humble, knowing his faults. There’s no blaming others for the choices he has made.
Now, all of this sounds great until we put it to the test. Sometimes, trying to save a buck, or to avoid waiting, we find ways to bend the rules to suit us. And, when this happens, others notice. Not only is our integrity questionable, all that we stand for goes out the window. We appear just like everyone else. And, for that reason, some want nothing to do with Christianity, because the people of faith act as if they have no faith.
- Here is someone who has a handicap parking card for an aged parent. They run to the store, but the aged parent isn’t with them. They park in a handicap spot because it’s convenient and close to the store. They use it all the time.
- Here is someone who doesn’t like to wait in the lines to board an airplane. So, they bring a cane and they are allowed to board first, even though nothing is wrong with them. It’s just a way to beat the crowds.
- Here is someone when he is pulled over for speeding, drops the names of police officers that he knows so he can avoid getting a ticket.
- Here is someone who knows how to bend the rules and beat the system to avoid paying some taxes that he owes.
- Here is someone who reports a higher number of expenses than what he actually used, just to get more money back from the company.
- Here is someone who bends the company rules about days off, vacation time, and paid sick leave, just to do whatever he feels like. He milks the system to his advantage.
- Here is someone who knows things are wrong with the car he is selling, or the house he is selling, but he plays innocent and dumb. He acts as if everything is great, when he knows it is not. He reasons, if I tell them everything, they won’t buy it. He is more interested in selling and making a profit than he is in integrity.
- Here is someone who is applying for a job. He lost his last job because of his dishonesty. He purposely hides things and fudges a few things to make himself look better than what he really is. He hopes that he can land the job without anyone ever finding out.
Now, we all know folks who do these things. However, when those doing these things are Christians, not only does it make the Christian lack integrity, it makes others wonder if his faith is just another sham.
Two things come out of this:
First, people notice our integrity or the lack of it. The first to notice is our family. They may laugh and think it’s great how we bend the rules to our advantage and favor, but what are we teaching them? Honesty isn’t always the best policy—it’s doing what puts you at the front of others. Convenience, a few dollars here and there, a little white lie, all justified by the thought that it’s no big deal and no one got hurt. But something was hurt. His integrity was shattered. He’s a dishonest person, but he’ll never admit that. His children grow up bending the rules just like dad. Cheating in school. Cheating in sports. Lying to get out of things and lying to escape consequences.
The people that see this dishonesty are disgusted. They feel taken advantage of and being used by those who think they are above the rules and better than the rules. The man’s spiritual influence is also shot. Few will take him seriously about following the Bible, when he doesn’t follow the Bible.
And, when names are mentioned as leaders in the congregation, his is always passed over. People know. He is an embarrassment and he doesn’t even know it.
Second, while this man laughs his way through life, bending, stretching and even breaking the rules to his advantage, someday he’ll stand before God. There will be no sweet talking the Lord. The Lord has been aware of this long journey of dishonesty. While this man may have fooled the world, he will never fool God. His lack of integrity will cost him the most precious thing he has, his soul. He will be lost because he thought he was better than everyone else. He broke the rules on purpose and thought that he could get by. He has left a terrible trail of hurting others and making a mockery of the Lord’s ways.
The steps of integrity may mean that you pay the full amount. It may mean that you wait in line. It may mean that things are not convenient, easy or even to your advantage. It means that you follow the rules. It means that you are not above the law—any law. It means that you live a life that is transparent, decent and good. It means that you live a life that is noble, honorable and pleasing to God. It means that you leave footprints that you wish all would follow. It means that you have nothing to be ashamed of, nor to hide. It means living by the golden rule.
He who walks in integrity walks securely.