Proverbs 20: 7 and 27 (NLT)
7 The godly walk with integrity;
blessed are their children who follow them.
27 The Lord’s light penetrates the human spirit,
exposing every hidden motive.
Here is a definition of the word – integrity – from dictionary.com
1. adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
2. the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished:
Our North American culture has really turned away from this idea of honesty and the idea that people can be whole – who they are shows in all situations: that what they think, say and do all line up to the same thing. We’ve bought the notion that things depend on circumstances; what’s right in this situation, may not be in that situation. Now I belong to this culture too, and I think that statement has its merits. It might be right to tell the truth in one situation, but realize that telling the truth might not be the best thing in another – you might hurt the person without any real gain. For example, I might tell my 3 year old that his/her drawing is so good, even though I know it’s really pathetic. Or I don’t tell my friend that I think her new outfit is really ugly. But then I look at politics today, and I suspect we all wonder if we are getting the truth in many situations.
But where the idea of integrity really strikes a chord with me is – how do I behave, as well as, what do I say I believe – in all situations. Do I believe one thing around my church friends, but not around my fellow workers? Do I act one way at home and another way in public? Do I lose my temper with my husband and children, but am very tolerant with my friends? Am I careful with my accounting at home, but I twist the figures on my income tax? There’s a very old saying – ‘What you see is what you get’. Is that me, or do I have many faces that I put on depending on where I am?
These verses from Proverbs really challenge me. Solomon says that children are blessed when they can follow a parent with integrity. That parent sets the example for them of what honesty is all about. Can my kids really trust me? Have I ever done something when I’m with them, and told them not to tell daddy?
That is something I was so blessed with – parents who demonstrated integrity. My dad worked for an insulation manufacturing company, and we often had discussions around the table about business practices that he bumped into. I remember one discussion very well. He told us about discovering that his salespeople were lying to customers about how quickly they could get the company product on their shelves. He told the salespeople that they had to be completely honest, and a process was set up in the company that tracked where the products were in transport so salespeople could give fairly accurate estimates about when the customer would receive the shipment. The salespeople didn’t like this new rule at first; they said they would lose business if they couldn’t say the product would get there right away. My dad told us this story on the day that the statistics came in showing the company sales were increasing. I am aware of other companies led by Christians that follow their faith principles, and they are flourishing. God doesn’t tell us that integrity is important just to frustrate us; God knows it actually works the best.
The next thing Solomon says is that God’s light penetrates the human spirit and exposes hidden motives. That is something I’m also so thankful for. Reading the Bible and getting to know God’s mind and heart along with the guidance provided by the Holy Spirit really challenges me. So often as I read and meditate, something I need to change comes to mind. I can’t mature all on my own; I need all the help I can get to become the woman God wants me to be. I’m soooo thankful that God has provided that for me. I’m not on my own.
Once again, Solomon gives us something to think about.