My father used to tell me, as I was growing up, that “the person you are when your all alone, in the darkness of your own little secret place, is the person you really are out in the public, regardless of any disguise you may or may not be wearing.” I used to think my father was full of it, but now I really think he may have been gifted with extraordinary wisdom concerning the simple but profound things in life.
I’ve been thinking about integrity a lot lately. My present lot in life may be the catalyst of these thoughts. Presently, I am pastoring/planting a church in the city. I am also trying to put the finishing touches on my credentialing materials for my denomination. Most importantly of all, I am husband to a wonderful woman - to whom I am called to love as Christ loved the Church - and a father to three rapidly evolving children who require more and more from me each and every day. All of these things - and a few more I haven’t mentioned - seem to be calling me to seriously care for my personal integrity. Integrity is very important to me right now. No one wants a pastor who is gloriously perfect; but they don’t want one with zero integrity either. Likewise, no church on the planet wants a self-righteous blow-hard who thinks he/she is sin-free, but they don’t want a person with seriously questionable integrity representing them and/or their church either. No spouse or children that I know of wants a compulsive-perfectionist lording over their house and home, but they don’t want someone who offers zero structure, guidance, or leadership either. Yes, right now, integrity is a very, very important aspect of life.
Integrity is, as my father used to say, “Who you are in the darkness of your own little secret place.” Who am I when I am all alone? Who am I when no one else is watching? Is that person the best person I can be? I hope so! If not, I have a lot of work and maturing to accomplish. Not for my own sake, but for those all around me who depend upon me to be the very best person I can be for them. We all naturally understand what this demand requires of each of us. Integrity? Yeah, follow though with it.