The problem of integrity…

Let your yes be yes and your no be no.

Just do the right thing.

Speak the truth in love.

These are all statements about integrity.

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Integrity is what happens when you are the same person in private as you are in public.

I wonder what percentage of my ministry is integrity-based; maybe 100-percent?

I know I personally have a finely-tuned B.S. detector (maybe from being raised on a farm?). If I am hearing a voice that comes across as anything less than genuine or authentic – as someone who really doesn’t believe the words that are coming out of their mouth – I’m done listening. It really doesn’t matter if they are the most eloquent communicator in the world; if they lack integrity, I’m not listening. On the other hand, if you have integrity – if you are humble and genuine and thoughtful – I’m more than happy to hang on every word, even if you stutter.

It’s why Moses was a great leader despite his verbal inadequacies (whatever they were).

The same is true of my vicarage (internship) supervisor, “Pastor Bruce.” He fought a stutter. He would stand leaning in the pulpit with a hand in his pocket while he preached in kind of a conversational tone. He wasn’t a master of Greek or Hebrew, but he loved God’s Word. In other words, “not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power” (1 Corinthians 1:17). And people listened, because he genuinely, sincerely believed the Word of God he was preaching and genuinely, sincerely loved the people of God to whom he was preaching it.

Have you seen the study where people are shown two pictures, one of a person who is sick and one of a person who is well? People can read their micro-expressions, the droop in their eyes, the little nuances, and reliably pick the sick person. You can’t fake “well.”

Likewise, I would submit that you can’t fake integrity. People can see through it – maybe not immediately, but eventually. That’s a thought that can either be terrifying… or humbling.

Humbling is a good thing; it puts you in a great position to say something worth hearing, and to lead somewhere worth going.

(Lent 12/40)

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