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Tag Archives: Integrity

Derail Guilt

My family and I returned home from vacation a few weeks ago. When we pulled up onto the street and parked in front of the house, I immediately noticed that the railing for my steps in front of my house was gone. The kids in the neighborhood were outside playing and when they saw us pull up, they ran inside their house. It doesn’t take a genius to spot that level of guilt. One of the parents even called there child inside, which to me was out of fear of confrontation, but maybe I’m drawing conclusions. I’m really not that hard to get along with, so I didn’t understand the level of guilt. My railing wasn’t the sturdiest anyway because I’ve backed into it a time or two with my vehicle. I suspected that the kids decided to play on it while we were gone and with the weakness of the railing, it didn’t take much for it to break. I was more aggravated about the fact that no one wanted to own up to the incident than anything else.

My second year of college, my family bought me a car. I went away to college and the first year I had to rely on other people to get me around town or I had to wait for my family to come get me on long weekends. So, the summer before my second year of school, my Mom and Dad bought me a red Dodge Shadow. My parents came down with me the week before school started to help get me settled in and make sure all was well with everything. I drove down with my Mom in the car and my Dad came in his vehicle. The day before they left to go back home, they said their goodbyes to me and headed to their hotel. I was a little nervous about the start of the new year and decided to go to Wal-Mart to kill some time and get some odds and ends. I went into the parking lot and pulled into a spot, when I pulled in, I misjudged the distance and scraped a van with my front bumper. No one was around, my heart was in my throat and I didn’t know what to do. My gut told me to leave, but I had to check and see the damage. I looked and couldn’t tell anything. But, on looking again I saw a decent size mark. I nervously waited in the parking lot for whoever the owner was to come out so I could tell them what happened. It was hot, I was nervous, I was battling whether to just go and pretend it didn’t happen, when finally after about twenty minutes a family started walking to the van. I approached the father and told him what happened. He looked at the damage and he thanked me for letting him know. We exchanged insurance information and I got his phone number. This was before cell phones were in everyone’s possession. I left and headed back to the dorm, dreading the call to my parents. When I got in the dorm, I went to the payphone, looked up the hotel number of where they were staying and called and told them what happened. They weren’t happy, of course, because this was added expense that they weren’t expecting. They contacted the other driver and paid for the damage out of pocket instead of putting it on the insurance. The other driver was kind and complimented that it was honorable that I waited around for them.

The thing is, the guilt would’ve drove me crazy if I drove off and pretended it didn’t happen. I have my parents to thank for that. They raised me to be upfront whenever I broke something, to be honest in all situations.

Back to the railing, a few days after we got home the little girl across the street started talking to me because I was taking the trash to the curb. After a bit of dialog, she pointed at the broken railing. I nodded and said “Yeah, you know what happened, don’t you?” She nodded back and then pointed to the house beside me. I nodded and said, “The railing wasn’t very sturdy. I’m guessing that it looked like a good place to slide down or swing on. Then when someone played on it, it came down. She said, “Yea, and he hurt his hand.” “That happens,” I said back.

A day or two after the little girl told me, the little boy who had done it waved at me with a bandaged up hand. He walked toward me and I said, “Did you do that on my railing?” He nodded and his sister quickly said, “No, you did it on the slip and slide.” He shot her a look and then I said, “I know what happened. I’m glad you aren’t hurt worse.”

The kids didn’t want to hold on to that guilt either. They were afraid of how I would react. They didn’t want to own up to it, but they couldn’t pretend it didn’t happen either. Confession is freeing, whereas keeping that guilt inside will eat you alive or numb you.

“Few things are more infectious than a godly lifestyle. The people you rub shoulders with everyday need that kind of challenge. Not prudish. Not preachy. Just cracker jack clean living. Just honest to goodness, bone – deep, non-hypocritical integrity.” ~ Chuck Swindoll

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Is Integrity Lost?

Is integrity lost in our society? I feel that it is lacking greatly in character among many that I encounter on a day to day basis. It saddens me that the world has become such a self-indulgent monster, devouring whatever lies in the path before or ahead of it. Integrity is defined as the quality of being honest and fair. It’s also defined as a firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values. I grew up in a time that we were taught to be mindful of others around us, to give an honest answer, and to be ready to pitch in whenever a job needed to be complete. Now, it seems you have to prod people to notice their behavior, you have to pull teeth for the truth, and you have to beg for something to be done.

Being a mother, I hope that my son will grow to be a man of integrity. I know that I am not perfect, but I hope that the lessons his father and I teach him stick. It worries me that he has to grow up in a world that seems anything but honest. Those who are honest have to question others simply based on the lack of honesty as a whole. This is what happens when God isn’t the center of our lives. My prayer is that people will awaken from this monster of self-indulgence and that they will run away from it; that they will see the need of God being the center. My prayer is that people will diligently seek to be changed by God to where others can’t help but see Him residing in their lives. If we say we are living for Him then why do our fruits stink to high heavens? It’s because we are living for ourselves and not Him. We want the benefits of God but not the sacrifice that comes with it. We would be so much better off if we would yield to God and be his true representatives, don’t you think?

“The godly walk with integrity;
blessed are their children who follow them.
When a king sits in judgment, he weighs all the evidence,
distinguishing the bad from the good.
Who can say, “I have cleansed my heart;
I am pure and free from sin”?
False weights and unequal measures[a]—
the Lord detests double standards of every kind.
Even children are known by the way they act,
whether their conduct is pure, and whether it is right.”

Proverbs 20:7-11 (NLT)

 
 

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Promises, Promises

“You have heard that it was said long ago, ‘You must not make a promise you cannot keep. You must carry out your promises to the Lord.’  I tell you, do not use strong words when you make a promise. Do not promise by heaven. It is the place where God is. Do not promise by earth. It is where He rests His feet. Do not promise by Jerusalem. It is the city of the great King.  36 Do not promise by your head. You are not able to make one hair white or black. Let your yes be YES. Let your no be NO. Anything more than this comes from the devil.”  Matthew 5:33-37 NLV

 

Words used to mean something to people.   I remember when I was a kid, I was told not to make promises that I couldn’t keep.  So, I’ve always tried to be cautious of what I would say.  I don’t like to commit to something that I’m not going to follow through with.  Loyalty and commitment seems to be lacking as well.  I guess we live in an age where everything is disposable.  Marriages can be tossed to the wayside if you’re just tired of being with that “true love.”  How many true loves does a person have to go through before you actually find the one that truly is true?  Marriage isn’t easy; it takes two people who are genuinely committed to one another.  My marriage hasn’t been all roses and perfect days.  Life just isn’t that way.  I am blessed enough to have someone that stands by me and will ride the storms of indifference, trials, and life.  Both people have to be committed to the relationship.  Both have to be willing to let go of selfish desires and bend every now and then for the other person.

I find it funny how often people change their “BFF.”  I wonder if they truly know what the acronym means.  People treat relationships the way Baskin Robbins declares, “The Flavor of the Week.”   Friendships become disposable.  If someone is aggravating you too much or doesn’t pay you enough attention, it’s time to trade them in for someone else.

I even see it in the church world.  We treat church like Walmart…..give me the best product at the least cost to me.  Is that even close to what Jesus wants the church to be?  We shop around churches and if they aren’t giving us the deals we want, we find one that will.  Isn’t the church body supposed to be living sacrifices?  Do we even know what a sacrifice is?  Loyalty and commitment is a sacrifice.  Honor and integrity is a sacrifice.  Given up self-agenda is a sacrifice.

I pray that people will start to remember the value of their words.  I pray that people will remember that genuine character is commitment, loyalty, and service.  I pray the church will awaken to the truths of the gospel. 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2013 in Writing

 

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