It seems like such a foreign concept. It seems outdated and old fashioned. In this over-sharing culture, it is easy to use the excuse of transparency to cover up the lack of integrity in our lives. What does integrity look like? Am I living a life of integrity?
I had happily checked out at Target and buckled both boys into their car seats. I started loading my bags in the trunk and there it was. The small coin purse I snatched up from the $1 spot. To go pay for it I’d have to unbuckle each boy, walk through the rain to go back inside, and hope the boys didn’t fuss for check out lane candy. What a headache.
I told myself that the next time I went to Target I would scan a $1 spot item twice- no problem! I felt a little guilty, but it was an honest mistake and I planned to rectify it the next time.
A couple weeks later I was back at Target. I was scanning my own items, paid with my card, and grabbed my receipt. Then I remembered the coin purse! But I had already paid, what a hassle!
Wait a minute. Step back, Becca. Slow it down. I am not a thief! Why am I trying to justify not paying for an item, especially an item I have been using for a couple weeks? You know what? It took about 90 seconds to scan another $1 spot item, reinsert my card, and get a new receipt. I was grumbling over 90 seconds of my time versus maintaining my integrity.
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine like lights in the universe.” Philippians 2:14-15
Looking around, integrity is severely lacking in modern culture. We act in our own best interests. Little white lies and elaborations are expected in our social media age. But what if we lived a life of honor? A life that could be called blameless? Do you know who was known for being blameless? Job. In his day he was called blameless and upright (Job 1:1) and was the greatest of all the people of the east (Job 1:3). He had a great reputation and he was a man of his word. But he fell victim to death, destruction, and physical devastation. He was severely tested, but Job trusted in God’s goodness and did not sin (Job 1:22) because he feared the Lord (Job 1:1).
No one saw me accidentally walk away with that coin purse. No one knew that Target was short $1. If I had genuinely forgotten to pay for it on my next trip, no one would have noticed. But God knew. And through the work of His Spirit, He graciously reminded me to swipe that $1 price tag one more time. The true test of our character is how we act when no one else is watching (paraphrased from John Wooden). Because God sees everything we do and knows everything we think anyways. We are held against His standard and if left to our own devices, then we will fail every time.
I want to lead a blameless life before both God and man. I want everyone I meet to know that my yes means yes. I want my Lord and Savior to see my desire to please Him, especially when no one else is watching. I do not want to cut corners or try to find short cuts, but instead to work heartily to the Lord (Colossians 3:23).
Tying this into motherhood: I have chosen verses for each of my boys before they are born. They all have to do with integrity and growing to be men of God. But how can I expect to raise men of true integrity if I am not daily living in integrity myself? My youngest two were with me on that trip to Target. Neither noticed the unpaid for coin purse, but how often do little eyes see our actions or little ears hear our words? I do not want to appear to have integrity only when I know my boys are watching. I want to live in integrity so that my all of my actions are examples for my boys. More importantly, when I fail (and I will fail) I want to point my boys to Christ whose character we hope to adopt. I want my boys to understand that we strive to walk in integrity because that is walking as Christ walked.
Let’s resolve to walk in integrity every day. Let us resolve to devote every moment to the Lord. Let us be an example for our children and point them to the perfect example of Christ.