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Monday, January 22, 2018

Integrity at the Core

One of the pleasures of my church ministry experience is a group of age 55+ men who meet monthly for breakfast. It’s a fun fellowship of guys who share a lot in common at this stage of life. As you might guess, our health news updates often need a little extra time.

We have a brief lesson from devotional material I’ve selected. This year, we’ve been tracking with insights from a book called, The Joshua Code by O.S. Hawkins. The lesson for this last Saturday was titled, “Integrity: Don’t Leave Home Without It!”

Hawkins reminds us that we all live in four distinct spheres of life and influence. There is our private world, where no one else goes except us. We also have a personal world, which is shared with a small circle of family or friends who really know us intimately. Our professional world is the third of these spheres. This likely includes scores of people. Finally, there is the public world. These are the people who have never met us personally or professionally but have formed an opinion about us.

So where does the matter of integrity fit?

That word indicates a completeness or a life of wholeness. The person we seek to make ourselves out to be on the outside should come close to matching who we truly are on the inside. This is the life of integrity.

Hawkins goes on to make these statements:
  1. Integrity is rooted in one’s private life.
  2. Integrity is reflected in one’s personal life.
  3. Integrity is reinforced in one’s professional life.
  4. Integrity is revealed in one’s public life. 
The significant and underlying message is that integrity is among the most important traits of an individual. It supersedes intellect, intensity, and insight. In the workplace, it will make or break a leader.

Another friend of mine, Rick Ezell, recently posted a question for his readers. It asks, “Do you pass the integrity test?” He references the life of the young man Daniel after whom a book in the Bible is named. His highest loyalty was to honor God in his behavior—whatever the cost.

Ezell shares one of his favorite stories of how integrity played out in a famous movie. I’m re-sharing it for you here. As Rick writes:

“One of my favorite movies is To Kill a Mockingbird, starring Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch, an Alabama lawyer defending a black man accused of raping a white girl in the early 1930s. Upon taking the case, Finch immediately comes under the abuse and the scorn of the people in the town. The man was innocent, and Atticus Finch capably defended him; but when the jury came in, nobody was surprised that its verdict was guilty.

The lawyer’s two children were at the courthouse. Unable to find seats downstairs, they had gone into the segregated balcony and had sat next to the town’s black preacher. As the judge retired and the spectators filed out of the courtroom, Jean, Atticus’s daughter, was engrossed in watching her father. He stood alone in the room, transferring papers from the table into his briefcase. Then he put on his coat and walked down the middle aisle toward the exit—a beaten man but with soul intact. Jean felt someone touch her shoulder. She turned around and noticed that everyone in the balcony was standing. The black preacher nudged her again and said, ‘Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father’s passin’ by.’”

Atticus Finch had core values that would not be shaken. Circumstance would not rob him of his convictions. Integrity was his invaluable asset.

And so it should be with us. In the book of Proverbs, our path is laid out: “He who walks with integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will become known.” (Proverbs 10:9, NASB)

Are you such a person? One who can be trusted as a soul with integrity? A life of success will be measured by that vital character trait.

Here’s lookin’ at you.

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Let’s Talk with Mark Elfstrand can be heard weekdays from 4-6 PM Central. To listen outside the Chicago area, tune to for live streaming or podcasts, or download the AM1160 app.

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