We’re moving ahead in our series on what it means to live in the light of life. We’ve considered a little of the context of Jesus’ words in John 8:12 and what it might look like to live a life of love. But what about the I word: integrity?
Simply put, integrity is where your beliefs meet your behaviors. Basically, the values you possess are expressed by consistent actions … you practice what you preach … you walk the talk. All of this is easier said than done but, oh, so important to our own sanity as well as the well-being of those around us.
It’s one thing to FEEL like an imposter because God has called you to do something that you never imagined doing or is way outside your comfort zone. The stress you feel related to this is more about the challenge than about deceiving people.
It’s a whole ‘nother thing to BE an imposter … not living a life consistent with what you say you believe. The stress that builds up here is about constantly having to cover up the truth about your real life with the lies you have created about your pretend life. Deception is exhausting.
Integrity is essentially about living in the LIGHT! It is being above reproach or judgment. It doesn’t mean that people won’t criticize or accuse you about stuff; it just means there won’t be any lasting basis for their distrust or dissatisfaction.
Earlier this semester, I referred to the story of two brothers who were convicted of stealing sheep and were branded with on the forehead with the letters “ST,” meaning sheep thief. One of the brothers was unable to bear the stigma and tried to hide himself in a foreign land. He kept on wandering restlessly; at length, full of bitterness, he died and was buried far from home.
The other brother said to himself, “I can’t run away from the fact that I stole sheep. I will stay here and win back the respect of my neighbors and myself.” As the years passed, he developed a reputation for integrity. One day a stranger saw the old man with the letters on his forehead. He asked a neighbor what they signified. “Oh,” the neighbor said. “It happened a great while ago. I have forgotten the particulars, but I think the letters are an abbreviation for saint.”
Oh, that our lives would be so full of integrity that if anyone recounted the foolishness of our past years, current acquaintances would find it very hard to believe!