Integrity

Webster defines’ integrity as: firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic value: incorruptibility

To put integrity in my own terms it means doing everything I do regardless if someone is watching me.  Have I always lived a life of integrity, by no means.  It’s only been in the last 10 years where I have real tried to apply the definition to my life.  I learned quickly how to lie as a boy; I began acting differently around people, which led me well into my 30’s with keep up this approach to life. I maneuvered through life putting on an image for others while my personal life was in shambles. I have a lot of regret about my life, looking back I wish some had come along and really helped me to understand the importance of integrity.

In living my life in this manner it meant I was always covering my tracks, wearing masks and pretending I was someone I wasn’t when others were around.  I made it seem as though I was this great Godly man, father and husband.  Behind the scenes I was addicted to pornography, spending money we didn’t have and crossing lines I never should have. I spent countless hours having to cover my tracks to keep up the image. I had to make sure no one found out the truth. It sheer exhaustion trying to manage my life this way. Not only was it exhausting but my marriage and other relationships were being destroyed as a result of this. I had become the master of disguises.

Titus 2:7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness

My personality is one where I will continually do something, get hit in the head with a 2 X 4 repeatedly, walk away and go right back to the very thing I just got struck over the head for. You might define that as tenacity, but it was not in the good sense. You’d think I would be brain-dead by now for as many times as I have been hit. I finally came to my senses and decided I was not about to destroy everything I cared about. I decided I needed to man up and become the man God needed me to be for my family.

I found a group of men who were committed to this very thing.  I firmly believe God put us together for something greater than we ever imagined.  Fear and rejection have been two huge issues in my life and for me to step out and spill my guts to men I didn’t really know was walking into my own “fear factor”.  The first night we met I remember being physically ill, intimidated and wanted to run as fast as I could and get away.  I seriously felt like I was going to have a heart attack.  I listened as each man brutally and honestly bared his soul. I could tell from the beginning this was not going to be like anything I had ever experienced before.  Sitting there waiting my turn I could feel my palms sweating, heart racing and feeling light-headed. I felt like what I had to share about my life would not be welcomed or received, I felt like the odd man out.  As I began sharing my story the fear and rejection washed away.  Each man listened to me share about my life with interest and compassion.  Thinking back on that one night, it felt like I spent an hour releasing all the lies I had kept hidden inside, all the evil, wick thoughts and deeds I had ever done.  Something changed that day deep within me. I soon realized the power of truth and its ability to set people free.

These are some great quotes I found in regards to integrity that I really enjoy –

Theodore Roosevelt – “Character, in the long run, is the decisive factor in the life of an individual and of nations alike”

Thomas Jefferson – “Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching”

Ben Franklin – “Let no pleasure tempt thee, no profit allure thee, no persuasion move thee, to do anything which thou knowest to be evil, so shalt thou always live jollity; for a good conscience is a continual Christmas.”

Years have passed since I started making those changes to my life.  Have I walked this path daily, in all honesty no I have not.  I’ve had times where I went back to old habits and patterns.  That’s when God prompts me through various means and reminds me of the man I need to be and am a capable of being.  Job is one of my favorite Old Testament stories.  In this passage we see where God in speaking with Satan refers to Job as someone who maintains his integrity.  Job 2:3 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.”

BAM that’s powerful stuff and that’s the man I want to be in everything I do. One of the other men I would regard as someone with a lot of integrity would be Samuel.  Read back through the story and see how he fits into being a man of integrity.  I choose to be a Real Authentic Man, a man of quality and character.  Choosing to live my life free from lies and masks makes for a sweet life and as Ben Franklin said a continual Christmas.

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