Would you say you are a person of integrity?
June 21, 2017, 5:00 AM

The man of integrity walks securely. Proverbs 10:9

When you were a kid you never understood why sweets were off limits before dinner or how a chocolate chip cookie or two could ruin your appetite. In your young mind, parents were cruel dictators who forced you to eat your vegetables. With your belly growling, mom distracted by another sibling, you just happen to stroll into the kitchen.  Your eyes instantly lock on the cookie jar. Your heart starts beating a million miles a minute. Your mind goes through all the different scenarios that could take place.


It might be your sugar deprivation, but you swear those cartoon characters appear on both shoulders giving you differing advice about what to do. From what you can tell, it all comes down to two choices:  be patient and wait until after dinner for your delicious treat or sneak in when no one was looking, devour it quickly and pray that you don’t get caught with your hand in the cookie jar. If you were like me, you took the advice of the oh-so-wise Cookie Monster and thought that “C is for cookie and that is good enough for me.”


The choices that seemed like a matter of life and death as a kid (glue your mom’s vase back together or come clean, tell your dad you spilled Kool-Aid on the brand new carpet or blame your sister, cheat on a test or get the grade you deserve) seem almost trivial now as an adult. Yet, what we have failed to realize is that as the choices we are faced with become greater so do the consequences for our actions. Often we aren’t faced with choosing between good or evil, but rather better or best. These gray areas make it increasingly difficult to take the right course of action because we can justify in our minds that we will be the only one who knows, that it is not that big of a deal, or we can get away with it without anyone having the slightest clue.


Instead of taking the time to examine the hole in our heart, we become experts at hiding our real selves. Integrity sounds good in theory, but if we are honest we see it more as an inconvenience. After all, we deserve what we want when we want it. Life becomes more about our immediate gratification than the condition of our heart. What it comes down to is a lack of trust in God. We think that just like our parents were holding out on us with the cookies before dinner, God might not come through. We take matters into our own hands and our actions become just reactions rooted in fear and insecurity. Would you say you are a person of integrity? Why or why not? What makes you answer in the ways that you? How do these “gray” areas complicate the everyday choices you need to make?


This is my Prayer: Father God, help me to be the same person when I’m in a crowded room or behind closed doors all by myself. Lord open my eyes to those places where I exchange my character and influence for immediate gratification. Jesus teach me to walk in such a way that people see Your reflection in everything that I do. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.