Tuesday, December 11, 2007

integrity

on this journey of life, one of the goals is to learn ourselves more and more. who am i? what can i be? where do i fit? the first question is one i am really wrestling with right now. my wife is a woman of integrity. the definition of integrity is this: "adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty. " the key word being honesty i think. she is virtually incapably of lying. she either gets so nervous and guilt-ridden that she has to confess (usually within about 30 seconds... seriously, i've seen it) or she just starts laughing when the thought of lying occurs to her (which we all know would completely ruin the lie). if she is nothing else, she is a woman of integrity.

this is not a quality we share. i thought i had it. i thought i was an honest person and tried to be upfront with people. when i fail, i confess. but i was wrong. integrity does not flow from me as it does others. in fact, i would say what flows out of me naturally are a distortion of truth, excuses, and the desire to be believed (not to tell the truth, but to be believed... these are very different).

last year, a great man succumbed to ALS (lou gerig's disease). i encourage you to read dave chilcoat's online journal of his battle with this disease sometime... it will change your outlook on life. there is this video on youtube where he talks about this same struggle in his own life. this was encouraging to me (not in the way of making it okay to not have integrity, but to know you can develop it).

the martyrs of the early church had to possess this characterisic. to be so committed to something as to give your life for it screams of integrity. they were the same people when alone, when with other believers, and when in front of accusers. they didn't change their stories to fit the situation, they simply were themselves all the time, and that quality is what changed the world. that quality withing the early church is what brought down the greatest empire ever known to man. i pray for this quality to be developed in me and for the evil that dwells within to be ripped from me. it will be painful, it will be hard, and i don't know if i will come out the other side or if i will just give up. i just don't know, but i have to hope.

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