Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Selective Integrity?


Selective Integrity

"The man on integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out."
Proverbs 10:9(NIV)


I've shared the story before in a sermon about a guy who a few years ago went through the drive-thru at KFC with his girlfriend and ordered a bucket of chicken. An employee accidently grabbed a bucket that had the night deposit in it filled with several thousand dollars and handed it out the window to the man. After leaving the man opened up the bucket of chicken to find the money instead. He returned to the store and gave the money back.

The manager was elated, the man could have drove away and gotten away with all that money, but he chose be honest and return with the cash. The manager wanted to call the newspapers and tv stations to do a story on the man's honesty, but he refused do you know why? He did not want his wife to find out because he was married and the woman with him, his girlfriend was not his wife.

How can a man be so honest in one area of his life and return money he could have gotten by with keeping, yet be so dishonest and cheat on his wife with another woman? It makes no sense, but people including me do that all the time in our lives. We pick and choose areas we want to be honest and areas we don't. We pick and choose areas we want to give to God and areas we want to control ourselves.

A man can preach the truth and not tell it. Someone serve as a leader and role model in church, yet be a negative harsh supervisor at work. A woman can sing in the choir or worship team and have a voice that praises God, yet away from church she verbally abuses her husband and children. Parents can teach their kids to be honest and tell the truth, yet they cheat on their taxes or lie about their kids ages when they take them to the movies. Someone can spread gossip and rumors about someone and they turn around and serve the hurting at a homeless shelter or nursing home.

I am not sure why we are this way, but we can be so excellent in some areas of our lives in serving, teaching, giving, and helping others, and then at the same time, we can lie, scheme, gossip, slander, have a negative attitdue, or rebel against what we know is the right thing to do.

I for one don't believe you can pick and choose when to have integrity you either have it or you don't, but I do think some people are honest about their weaknesses, faults, and struggles, and others are in denial or think they are bigger than the truth or the rules don't apply to them.

We all sin, we all fall short, none of us are perfect, but you have to decide whether you are going to be a person of integrity who admits when fail, sin, fall short, make poor choices, wrong decisions, use bad judgement, or just plain mess up. Instead we want to deny, justify, blame shift, and make excuses. It's time we have integrity and learn from our mistakes, accept ownership, make ammends, and live with the consequences. If not, we will continue to have selective integrity, which is really no integrity it all,because you either have it or you don't.

There have been times I haven't had it, I want to have it and live it all the time. How about you?

1 comment:

Cathy said...

I think this is something you have to work at each day because our society does not reward honesty. As a youth minister, I'm sure you have heard all things I'm hearing about now and it's hard work for a parent to make teenagers understand that even if so and so is pregnant at 15, so and so are living together, so and so is bullying people are all "bad" behaviors. How can you argue when the girl across the street is the stepdaughter of a church elder but has had an abortion and lives with her boyfriend and everyone acts like it's fine. The ministry kids are the hardest because some of them act the worst but get away with it for whatever reason. Society does not make it easy for us to be good parents with their examples especially when we aren't perfect ourselves. But really is there a rating system for sin? Do my white lies come in at a two compared to an abortion at an eight? Isn't sin just what it is and that's sin? I'll take the narrow and rocky road and be happy. God doesn't promise paved roads in life but he rewards efforts.