Integrity: The Glue That Binds All Relationships
Integrity. This is an indispensable virtue for our relationships with others, and for our relationship with God. Integrity is an uncompromising adherence to moral and ethical principles. It is, in other words, to be of moral character, honest and true to oneself, and to others. This is the glue that binds all relationships in justice and in mercy.
Those who possess integrity are often despised by the world. Their integrity acts like a mirror to those who are dishonest, manipulative, and amoral, showing them the ugliness of their ways. Those who are dishonest, manipulative and amoral, who are concerned only for themselves, often respond to the person of integrity with ridicule, rejection, or even violence. This is why it is paramount for a Christian to be a person of integrity. This virtue is of God. It is a hard won virtue that takes great practice, determination of spirit, and an unflinching desire to do the will of God in this world. The will of God is always oriented toward the good, the true and the beautiful. It always seeks the good of others. It is never selfish. It is the will of God that the person of integrity willingly submits to. This is why the person of integrity is always associated with the universal moral good.
The ways of the world are often just the opposite. The world tells us to, “Take care of number one.” It sets us up and against all others. It is driven most often by such things as: jealousy, fear, rage and distrust. It fosters competition where there must be winners and losers. Because winning is considered the pinnacle of success in the world, it becomes the driver behind much of our human desires and behaviors. When winning becomes the most important thing in life, then anything goes to achieve that goal. This is why pragmatism, and the utilitarian, situational ethics of, “The ends justify the means,” have become the preeminent philosophies of our time. And we see the consequences of this kind of behavior every day, at every level, in all sections of our society.
This psalm recognizes all of the above and gives us the insight that God recognizes the person of integrity and rewards him or her with his presence. “Because of my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence.” Is this not our hearts deepest desire; to be in the presence of God, both now and forever? Though the person of integrity may be harassed from all sides by those who hate the perceived “limitations” of morality, it is he or she who gives a model of virtuous character to those who are still disposed to the good and to morality. The person of integrity has come to know the divine and infinite qualities of moral character. The person of integrity can see that only goodness and moral behavior can fulfill the demands of true justice and real mercy in the world. This kind of person, then, is exactly what the world needs. And this is exactly what a Christian is called to be. And we are never alone in this. For, God upholds the person of integrity, and promises to set him/her in his presence. Now and forever.
Lord, we ask you to light our minds with the fear of you that leads to wisdom, to guard us from the foe, to help us to rule over our foolish passions, and to guide our feet into the way of peace. Strengthen us in our desire to be people of integrity. We ask these things believing in the power of the name, Jesus. Amen!
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