Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Legacy of a Life Filled of Integrity

Sometimes the choices we make in life have severe consequences on us.  What can be even worse about some of those choices, is how they make effect others who are a part of our life.  Depending on where that other person is in their life, it could have a deep and lasting effect on them.

When we choose to say things without thinking of the consequences of our speech, we can cause a deep emotional hurt to others.  When we choose pride over humility we exalt ourselves above others.  The choice to say things that lack the whole truth can have a damaging effects on our authenticity, credibility and integrity. This will tarnish relationships quickly. Soon you may find that you no longer have genuine relationships, but relationships that become simply put, "FAKE". All of these will have severe consequences on a person's most important value - INTEGRITY.  Because integrity encompasses everything of who our true character is made of.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29
Consequences of our Negative Words
Words cut like a knife. We are not made of steel. We feel the blow as it cut into us, wounds us and even possibly internally bleeds us.  How deep the blow, the amount of pain we endure, how much and long we bleed is all dependent on how equipped we are to deal with such an attack.  And sometimes regardless of how prepared we may be, we may be so blindsided by it that we are sure to feel the hit and have lasting effects of it.

Words are like using a permanent marker on a wall. Even if you try to erase it, you can still faintly see what was written.  If you try to cross it out, you know it is still there.  If you try to white it out, it still remains underneath.  If you try to delete it, it truly will never be deleted from memory. So let's try to remember that the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Do not think you are better than you really are.  Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Romans 12: 3
Consequences of Pride
Pride makes us God.  We were made in God's image, but that doesn't mean we are God, nor will we ever be. God is God.  I never truly understood this until I read a book about Humility. When we give into the rah-rah of personal accomplishments, desire personal praises of our accomplishments from others, put ourselves above the care and kindness of others we fall into Pride.

Once you exalt yourself in that manner, you may be humbled.  And when that happens, others will not see you in the same light they once did.  You loose parts of your integrity along the path of Pride.

Romans 12:3 says, "Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Do not think you are better than you really are.  Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us."   

This is a great reminder that we must view one another as equals.  No one man is better or less than the other.  When we give into pride and begin exalting ourselves, we find it easy to point out the flaws of others, to compare where we think we are better or less than the next person, and to judge others because we see our way of doing things as the only and correct way of doing things.

There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him:  Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers. Proverbs 6:16-19
Consequences of the Lack of Truth, Half Truths or Exaggeration
Isn't the foundation of any relationship honesty and truth - "Telling the Truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help us God?"  How many times have you shared a story and exaggerated the truth? Maybe you added a few details to liven up the story?  Perhaps you added or subtracted some numbers to give better results? Or perhaps you omitted a few details to avoid dealing with the consequences of the situation at hand.  There is one word for this - LYING.  

If  this practice is continued, it will most likely become a habit. A habit you may not even realize you have developed.  I love the following quote I read by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“Sow a thought and you reap an action;
Sow an act and you reap a habit;
Sow a habit and you reap a character;

Sow a character and you reap a destiny.”

Lies begin with thinking about how you can twist the truth to get the outcome you desire. We sometimes lie, tell half truths or exaggerate because we are insecure. We think if we lie about the circumstances of a situation that person will be more accepting toward us.  We may lie because we think it may be the only way to be loved.  We lie because we are prideful, feel shameful, embarrassed and so on.

Can you see the negative outcome of each trait? Sooner or later you may even begin to believe your own lies.  Worse, is that the lack of truth, half truths or exaggeration will flow into other parts of your life and will become your life.  When challenged about the validity of your speech, you may become argumentative and disagree completely because you've convinced yourself that you are always being truthful. Your frustration will come from the fact that you really believe what you are saying is true, when in actuality, it is just another character flaw you acquired.

Consequently, you will begin lose authenticity, creditability, and integrity in the eyes of others. Those who may not know you probably will not be able to notice this, but those who are close to you are surely to see your true character in a moment of weakness.

Therefore, be truthful in all you do.  Learn to speak the truth in love and without sin. My favorite scripture about truth is written in John 8:32, "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." With freedom comes a sense of calm and peace.  When you practice truth, you will find that you have both in your life.

“Integrity is keeping a commitment even after circumstances have changed.”  ~ David Jeremiah 
Consequences of Lost Integrity
  •  Integrity is speaking the truth intentionally and wholly.
  • Integrity never cheats, steals, circumvents or pilfers.
  • Integrity keeps it's word - you follow through, you are faithful, you do what you say.
  • Integrity lives by principles. You stand up for your beliefs regardless of the outcome.
  • Integrity is a person who is humble, dignified, and wise.

Anything that goes against the above list compromises your integrity.  And the consequences of lost integrity is to be known as a liar, thief, cheat, hypocrite, inconsistent, unreliable, undependable, dishonest and unethical person.

Soon you may find yourself doing things to "look good" and this becomes more important than being honest. When you make promises, you may follow through in the short term, but long term stability can not be guaranteed.  You will find yourself in competition with others and taking care of your needs which soon become more important than others.  Instead of just being "good" at something you may begin to feel the need to be "perfect" at something.

Without integerity you may never feel complete, content, satisfied, happy with yourself, relationships or life all together.

Integrity is your true character, it is the real you. It's doing what you say, when no one's looking.  It's sticking to your commitment even after circumstances have changed.  It's going against the persuasion of others and standing firm in your beliefs even if it causes tension. It is the solid set of values and principles you live by. Integrity will display your character that will shine so brilliantly that people will see the authenticity, credibility, and truth in your life.

A life filled with integrity is a fully lived life.  Leave a legacy of a Life Filled of Integrity 

1 comment:

  1. Such a great reminder to all of us how the Lord chose us to live a life of integrity. Thank you honey for taking time and sharing this beautiful
    blog with us. I definately will work hard to leave a legacy to my family filled of Integrity.
    Love Mom