"The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out." - Proverbs 10:9 (NIV)
What exactly does it mean to have integrity? According to the dictionary, it's: an adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty. Okay, I understand that. Then I have to ask myself: do I walk in integrity? Is my moral character sound? Am I always honest? The truth is....no. I'd like to think otherwise, but I know the truth.
We've all heard the phrase, "Honesty is the best policy." It may be the best policy but it can also be difficult and painful. That's why we find it so easy to lie, to be dishonest. It's easier, causes less pain. It removes responsibility for our actions. We lie to ourselves and others and think we can lie to God. But, as this verse points out, we "will be found out." We lie to ourselves about any number of things - having that donut won't make any difference; no one will know if I cheat on my homework; I've earned my paycheck and can spend it anyway I want - and think we've gotten away with it....until we step on a scale and we've gained a few pounds or we fail the test that was based on the homework we cheated on or we don't have any money left to pay our bills. Uh oh....found out. We lie to others - pretend to like them when we don't; pretend to care about their problems; make promises we don't intend to keep - then we're found out because we told someone else our true feelings about a mutual friend and they couldn't wait to gossip or we turned our backs when we could have helped or the promise made was never fulfilled. We lie to God....or attempt to. God is All-Knowing, All-Seeing. He knows everyone of our lies. From little white ones to great big fat ones. They're all the same to Him....wrong. The 9th commandment says, "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor." (Exodus 20:16 NIV) In other words: Do not lie! Be honest!
You may be thinking, people lie all the time and get away with it. They're never found out. Maybe in this life. But on Judgement Day, ALL lies will come to light. God will judge each and every one of us and the things we thought were hidden will be made known to all. None of us will be immune, none of us will come out unscathed. However, for those of us who claim Jesus as our Lord and Savior, there is a silver lining, a promise from God. If we repent and ask for forgiveness, He will forgive us our lies and He will FORGET them!! One caveat - we have to be truly sorry and make every effort to be honest. We can't just say, "God, forgive me for (fill in the blank)" and then go right out and do it again. That's not being truly sorry and God knows it. He knows our hearts. He knows our moral character.
I admit that I don't often enough walk in integrity. However, I can, with God's help, walk in it more often. On my own, it's easy to walk the crooked path. But I don't want to walk that path. No matter how hard and painful it may be, walking in integrity brings the greatest rewards. I pray God will remind me of that daily.
"I'll tell you a big secret, my friend: Don't wait for the Last Judgment. It happens every day." - Albert Camus, The Fall, 1956Dear Heavenly Father, lead me to walk in integrity today. When I am tempted to bend the truth or break it, remind me of Your commandments. May I live according to Your will and take responsibility for my words and actions when I don't. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.