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Monday, January 28, 2013

Integrity

Integrity“It’s sometimes easier to do the wrong thing, but it’s always better to do the right thing”

- Tony Dungy’s Mom (Uncommon, pg 11).

Humility is being “humble” or being “humbled.” It is usually better if you humble yourself rather than being humbled by someone else. Being humbled by someone else is usually called “humiliation” and that is a negative word in our culture.

A very positive word for me is the word “integrity.” Of the six words on the whiteboard above my desk – Humility, Integrity, Honesty, Courage, Faithfulness, and Wisdom – I think “integrity” is my favorite.

I don’t think there is a greater compliment that could be given to me than to say that I have “integrity.” Ironically enough – or maybe not so much – is that I have never heard anyone describe me as having integrity.

As I think about it, the reason may be because integrity is intricately connected to the other traits on my list. And when I was younger I was not very successful in cultivating the other traits – as anyone who knew me as a teenager and in college could – to my humiliation – attest.

But I want to have integrity. It has become one of my goals to be a man about whom it will be said, “He is a man of integrity.”

The good news for me is that there is still time. As long as I have a breath in this world, I still have time, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to become a man of whom it can be said has integrity.

I strive to be a man who people can count on to do what I said I would do. That hasn’t always been the case with me (ask the same people I mentioned above). I’ve also been working on being a husband my wife can count on and trust when I’m not around her. I’ve worked at that for the last 22 years. Successfully, I believe. So much so that if I were to go away to an out-of-town meeting or event, she trusts that I’m still faithful to the wedding vows I made to her in August of 1991.

While I’m still working toward my goal of being known as a man of integrity, I am encouraged by Tony Dungy, who wrote in his book, Uncommon:

“Integrity is … no respecter of position or wealth or race or gender…. Integrity does not come in degrees … you either have integrity or you do not” (Uncommon, pp13-14).

Integrity is something I have to actively decide that I’m going to have. And I have to decide that I’m going to have it each and every day – even multiple times a day. It doesn’t matter if I’ve got money in the bank or not, whether I’m a Senior Pastor or Assistant Pastor, or whether I’m anything at all.

It matters that I’m a man of God, following in His footsteps, living the life His Son Jesus lived and died to give me.

It is my prayer that my family will be able to honestly put these words on my tombstone:

Here rests a man of integrity.

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