“Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace.” 2 Cor. 1:12
I have long been impacted by the word “integrity”. It is defined as: adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty. As a little child I can remember my father saying the words, “Don’t do as I do; do as I say!” And even as a child, I recognized the hypocrisy of those words and I reacted with anger and frustration. And I was sure that I would never do that to my children because those words were a beacon in my brain of how NOT to parent my children. However, parenting is a plethora of humbling experiences and I failed miserably in this particular aspect. My children were a primary motivation to conquer a terrible temper, an unruly tongue, and many other sins because I desired them to be adults of integrity. I tried to ask my children’s forgiveness for each offense and made my best attempt to live my testimony consistently. I was convicted that the greatest gift I could give them, next to sharing Christ, was to model integrity in such a way that my words and actions matched. The sobering truth is our children will model themselves after us. While we can talk about integrity until we are blue in the face, they will DO what we DO!
Regardless of whether we are parents or not, I believe that our Creator has commanded the same behavior from all of us. Paul is very clear in this passage that our testimony is proven in how we live out our ordinary lives. If we are calling ourselves Christians, people are watching us to see if our words and actions are matching. If the words and actions match then people will believe we are trustworthy and may give us opportunity to share Christ with them. However, when our words and actions are not matching, people will rightly proclaim us as hypocrites and our trustworthiness is questionable. I’ve heard it said that integrity is what one does when no one is watching. Personally, I believe that living daily with integrity is probably the most profound testimony of a life transformed by Jesus Christ.