I am looking forward to Bill Cox’s message this weekend at church. The topic is Integrity. It is something that is SO needed in our world for life to function as God designed it to. And sadly it is something held in fairly low esteem by much of our culture today.
From the time I began raising our four children, one of the primary virtues that I have tried to instill into my kids is the importance of our integrity. It’s an intangible part of our character that has great worth. When a person’s words and/or behavior generates mistrust by others, they bring difficulty upon themselves and their family that can take years (if ever) to erase.
As young children, I have spoken to my daughter and sons of the value of good character and trustworthiness. Of commitment and dependability. Of being someone to be counted on to come through. Of being true to their word. I have used examples from family members though the past and present generations...and how today we can be grateful that our ancestors were good people, handing down to us a favorable reputation that we need to safeguard and to build upon for future generations.
Due to mankind’s innate sinfulness, we need to be taught these things, or our self-centered instincts will rule how we live out our lives. “What’s in it for me?” will be the predominant filter through which we would make our decisions. Jesus tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Paul teaches us that it is important to be others-centered (Phil. 2:3-4). Part of fulfilling these teachings is to tell the truth and keep our commitments.
Packaged in the mix of character attributes that honor God is being a person of our word. “A man’s word is his bond” is a somewhat archaic saying...and the handshake to seal an obligation has been largely replaced by contracts with financial and sometimes legal penalties if they are broken.
Imagine how much simpler and more enjoyable life would be if the handshake was all we needed to for people to once again trust each other to follow through on their commitments.
Being a person of our word. I guess it's one way in which we can be "salt and light" in the world around us.