“Integrity doesn’t mean that we will never mess up... Integrity means that we have permission to mess up within the limitations of boundaries, and when we do mess up, we deal honestly with it.”
~Martin Sanders (Italics in original)
We normally associate a significant depth of character to integrity. We don’t normally associate integrity as being linked with brokenness; with sin. But integrity, when tested, often reveals itself within the very context of sin. Think about it; when our weaknesses and mistakes are revealed, can we respond with rigorous honesty?
This assumes that we will make mistakes; that we all have weaknesses.
Those with integrity are not devoid of weaknesses, and they are not so perfect to never make mistakes. They simply have made a commitment, and keep that commitment no matter what, to uphold the truth, whatever the cost.
Good News for the Sinner
Anyone who knows they are a sinner, and accepts same, is probably saved; they probably know Jesus and call Jesus their Saviour. Let us assume they appreciate grace.
On the one hand, from a practical viewpoint, we might deplore the fact that we are sinners, but on the other hand an appreciation of the fact magnifies grace.
The good news for the sinner, regarding integrity, and the implicit desire to grow such an admirable character trait, is integrity is proven best in a seedbed of brokenness. Integrity might look the goods when it is at the top of its performance, but we never truly know about integrity until it is pushed to the limit and it is up against the wall; until it faces embarrassment and shame.
We can see that integrity and brokenness fit uniquely together.
Integrity may not be able to be proven until we see its response under duress; when it is tempted. When a person has been exposed, then, and only then, do we find out whether their integrity stands up.
Of course, a great Biblical example is David; he had integrity. What qualified David as having true godly integrity was his response when he was revealed, exposed, embarrassed, shamed, humiliated.
Having sinned with Bathsheba, against Uriah, and having been found out, he casts himself down before the Lord through Psalm 51; a penitential psalm full of remorse and repentance. David was a sinner; he messed up; but he eventually dealt with his sin honestly.
Likewise, we also mess up. We do things we come to later regret. But every time we own our sin we demonstrate integrity and we grow in it.
Integrity is paradoxical. It is proven through temptation. When we are honest, particularly within the mistakes we make, we prove our integrity.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.