Walking With Integrity
“Yet he felt in his heart that Faramir, though he was much like his brother in looks, was a man less self-regarding, both sterner and wiser.”
~ The Two Towers, Book 4, Chapter 5~
Sarah Arthur, in her writing of integrity sums it up in a single word. That word, is integrated. In other words:
Integrity is integrated.
Reading her description of integrity over again, it is one I spent two or more nights reflecting on. Respect is something we do not just give someone. Likewise, integrity is not something in which we simple practice. It is something ingrained. It is something we are taught. If we are truly willing, it is also something in which we can come to practice even if it means doing so alone.
Integrity Is Integrated
“When something has integrity, it is integrated. All the parts and pieces fit together to form a whole. That makes it structurally sound. When one or more pieces become corrupted or start to decay, the structure begins to dis-integrate. Unless the corrupted piece is removed or repaired, all the other pieces are eventually affected.”
~ Sarah Arthur, Walking With Frodo: A Devotional Journey Through The Lord of the Rings, pg. 53 ~
Faramir is a character that was met with a great deal of suspicion due to his likeness to his brother, Boromir. That same likeness immediately earned him the distrust of Samwise Gamgee. His intentions were constantly put to the test and placed under some rather intense scrutiny. While Frodo senses something different about Faramir, Samwise literally does not see any good in Faramir until the man’s integrity is put to the test. It takes Faramir’s having to match his words to his actions and vise versa for both the hobbits to trust him and see him as a man of integrity.
For Faramir realizes his own limitations, weakness, and holds himself accountable when he sends Frodo and Sam on their way. Doing what his brother and father would as well as could not, as they could not see their own weakness, Faramir realized his and instead of bringing Frodo, Sam, and the Ring to his father in Gondor he lets them go. Realizing the power of the One Ring his beyond him, Faramir shows his true quality and his character of integrity as he holds himself accountable and chooses to let the ring elude him.
Thinking about it, integrity as integrated could apply to us in a number of ways. It can apply to the world of business, the worlds in which we work. Speaking of work…this makes me think of a rather interesting lesson in integrity that I learned this week as a result of a conflict at work.
Matching Words With Action
A policy fairly new in practice was put to the test quite recently. One of our advertisements promised something in particular would be delivered with the purchase of ‘Every’ product. Can you imagine my surprise, anger, and displeasure when I learned two or more new products were not living up to this promise?
What is the lesson in integrity here?
When our words and actions do not match up, we are:
- Sending out more than one message
- Our actions and words are in contradiction with one another
- We are not being honest
- We are not taking accountability
Thankfully, the work issue was resolved with a change of policy in which actions and words matched. Was it the answer I was hoping for, perhaps not in this particular instance, but it has taught a valuable lesson.
The Church and Believers as a Whole
The church is a unit. The church is a body of believers who are to come together as a unit, as a whole to share the Gospel with others, spreading God’s word to the corners of the earth. As that is every believer’s calling, that should also be each and every believer’s calling.
Have you heard the old poem with the finger or sign language?
Here is the church
Here is the steeple
Open the doors
See all the people
The church as a whole, the body of Christ as a whole, it cannot function properly without the effort of all. Everyone must actively serve in faith and love. It does not matter what our neighbor looks like, what background they have, what their economic status is…each of us is a child of God. It should be our mission to reach out, to love, encourage, and support one another so that not only God’s love will be visible inside the church…but outside it too.
What message are we sending when we do otherwise?
One that clearly is the wrong message. One that more often than not, results in the turning away from God and all that is love. When our words and actions are in contradiction and we look down on a neighbor who is going through a difficult time, we are acting as the zealots Pharisees who were so wrapped up in being politically correct and theologically correct, that they forgot two key things… forgiveness and love.
So the next time we see a brother or sister who has not been to church in a while…hug them. Let them know you missed them. Do not go whispering or asking why they have been gone so long. Instead, show them God’s ever abiding love and mercy by embracing them in fellowship. When a brother or sister turns to us in repentance, prayers and thanksgiving should be given instead of anger, scorn, and condemnation.
Easy to say, hard to do. I know. Folks…that though, is what we are called to do. Set an example. We cannot just talk as Christ did, and teach what He taught us. We have to walk the walk too.
Integrity In The Word
We need to be humble. We need to realize we have limitations. We also must be accountable. We need to not only see our mistakes, we need to learn from them. We cannot go it alone! We need God’s strength and counsel. We need to be actively in His Word.
Psalm 119:9-10New International Version (NIV)
9 How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. 10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.