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True through and through
- Jacob Ninan
That is integrity, isn't it? No guile, no hypocrisy, no pretence, no giving false impressions, no secret agenda, no double talk, no hidden meanings, but true through and through! This is the human equivalent of what God is - light without any darkness (1Jn.1:5). The apostle John went on to say that if we claimed we were in fellowship with such a God and still had things to hide, there was no integrity in us (v.6)! In that case we would be liars without any truth in us.
Actually there is not much of integrity around us, is there? We are so used to mixtures of truth and falsehood packed off in impressive style especially among Christian leaders that we may have lost the sharpness of discernment in this area. We have almost come to accept straight faced double talk as a norm that it no longer disturbs us. Worse still, we may have come to adopting such attitudes and approaches ourselves. There has to be a U turn and quickening of pace as we move towards integrity, without which we shall not see the Lord (He.12:14).
Our difficulty may be in taking that U turn. It will cost us some painful admission that there are things we need to give up and stop doing. We wonder how we can manage to be upright in a world such as this. We are not so sure that we will be able to keep it up once we start. But 'difficult' as the way appears to be, there is no denying the fact that it is the only way to be pleasing to the Lord. We are not going to be able to hear the Lord telling us, "Good and faithful servant," without that.
On the other hand it is much easier to walk in truth than with guile, isn't it? What a strain it is to walk with guile, to make sure that our pretences are consistent at all times and convincing enough, and to walk carefully so that we do not get exposed or caught! If we go on with it for a long time, we may become blind to the fact that others can see through us and despise us. What a pitiable, miserable life!
We may be fooled into thinking that integrity is alright for men who (so we secretly imagine) do not have what it takes to get on in this world - you know, the innocent, gullible type. But the uprightness that God values is not incompetence or a form of weakness, but a deliberately chosen way of life. When God asked Abraham to walk before Him and to be perfect, was that not a call for integrity (Ge.17:1)? Job declared that he would not let go of his integrity till he died (Job 27:5). Solomon understood that what God valued most in a man was faithfulness and integrity (1Ch.29:17). David knew God as One who looked for integrity (Ps.15:1,2).
David's integrity was compromised severely when he fell with Bathsheba, but vindicated again after he acknowledged his sin, humbled himself and turned towards God. That was the U turn he took when he was convicted in his heart, and even though it looked humiliating for the moment it gained approval from God as "A man after My own heart." Encouraging, isn't it?