Some of us even take honesty to the extreme of letting others know just what we think. Like telling a woman that a dress doesn't suit her.
Does the dress really not suit, or is it just our opinion or preference? How do we esteem someone above ourselves if there's no room for their choices?
Integrity can mean swearing to your own hurt, and then not backing down when it does cost you. And choosing when it is important to let people know what you think and when to keep your peace.
Integrity is putting honesty in the grip of love for others. Corrie ten Boom said that one retarded person was just as valuable to God as a four-star general. Integrity values a person for what they are, not for what they can produce or whether they meet our standards.
Now, we know that the world is not always fair. Most people want to win for themselves. They don't care if the other person ever wins, so they don't play a win-win game.
You must choose whether or not you will always be so insistent that your side wins that no one else can gain. Will you play for the greatest common good? It is not always an easy, straight-forward choice!
Indeed, for integrity to work, we need the wisdom of Solomon. We need to know when to turn the other the other cheek and let others make choices for themseves. We need a life-spanning commitment to integrity in our careers, our personal lives and our marriages. We need to be `in the grip of' integrity.
"Oh, but he/she might win more than me!" you say. Unfortunately, we look at things that way, because at heart we are selfish. Integrity is overcoming our own selfishness to put the other person first.
That is why it is LOVE spelled with a capital L. Integrity is one of the earmarks of the kingdom of God. As such, it comes from God, who describes Himself as Love. It is not wishy-washy, sentimental drivel, but our hearts being so gripped by God that we are humble before Him. We are humble to the point that we are always ready to learn. We are willing to admit our mistakes and start again.
Integrity is not for the faint of heart. That is not to say integrity means being super-spiritual. On the contrary, integrity means admittimg weakness. It means sticking up for what is right, while owning the fact that we might be wrong.
Integrity is God at work in us!
So here's to integrity!
copyright, Rick Galbraith, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: May, 1998, 2001.