Integrity or Loyalty? Part II
Integrity is based on truth
Right is right and wrong is wrong. That is not such a difficult concept. Growing up in a healthy home and healthy culture, right and wrong are immediately apparent. That type of growing up produces integrity because it is based on Biblical truth.
The modern world has no agreement on what is right and what is wrong. Any system can and will create its own definitions. This results in the loss of the internal compass. The internal sense of right and wrong is replaced by the agreements and definitions of the system. Hitler’s Germany was a classic and drastic example of this. Loyalty to Hitler’s Germany took precedence over truth. Truth was lost. Loyalty was demanded. Integrity was lost.
Integrity desires truth
Integrity welcomes truth
Integrity insists on truth
Integrity is who you really are
Integrity is who you are in the dark
Integrity is who you are when no one is looking
Integrity is who you are even when you know you will not get caught
Integrity is who you are on the remotest island on the darkest night
Integrity will die for truth
Integrity knows that truth is more valuable than life
Integrity knows that ‘truth is immortal’
Integrity supports and defends the innocent
Integrity does not tolerate bullies
Integrity cares for others more than for self
Integrity stands up for the less fortunate
Integrity does not abuse
Integrity does not manipulate
Integrity never takes unfair advantage of anyone
Integrity is courage personified
Integrity is love personified
Integrity is justice personified
Integrity is respect personified
Integrity is equity personified
Integrity is honesty personified
Integrity is holiness personified
Integrity is being absolutely trustworthy
Integrity speaks for those who have no voice
Integrity sets the agenda for doing what is right
Integrity is God personified
Integrity is the essence of truth
Integrity is lost in a loyalty system
In the world of integrity no one argued that they could do anything they wanted and it was OK. No one! Real men with real convictions lived Godly lives without being poured into a mold that made them all alike. They were not cookie-cutter men. These men were not all identical but they had the same gentleman’s code of conduct and life. They lived that way before their God and their fellow man. The common thread in their lives was integrity, not mindless uniformity.
I remember a world like that. Not the whole world, of course, but the world in which I grew up. A world where injustice and wrong were the exception, not the rule. A world where you did not always have to watch your back. A world where mine was yours and yours was mine. A world of community. A world where men honored and protected women and children. A world where Christ was King. A world where you knew the Church was your most valuable asset in this life and your only path to the next.
Somehow we have gotten the idea that we can legislate morality and produce a system that will prevent wrong and sin. That is not true. That can only come from a committed heart and a disciplined life. Compliance with a system, no matter how fool-proof, will never produce the same results as a culture and a life of integrity.
The way we are doing church is not “the way we have always done church.” That is why we should study history. History produces cycles. The part of the cycle we are in now does not work. We need repentance and revival. Revival is return to truth and the integrity that truth produces.
We have more sin today than we did then. We look better but we are not better. The appearance is impressive but the experience is depressing. I know. Men tell me that they cannot keep themselves from sinning – men who look good and dress right but cannot keep themselves free from sin.
Loyalty systems do not produce holiness. We need to restore Godliness and holiness to the Biblical culture we have inherited. We can return to the era of integrity. We can create a culture of integrity and holiness. We do not have to decide between life and truth. They belong together and they can be together again today.
There is nothing wrong with being plain people. I am one of them. But, that is not the panacea. That is not the silver bullet. That is not a free ticket. How did we get where we are today on this subject of Integrity and Loyalty?