Week 6 ~ Building Integrity ~ Integrity--what an under-emphasized word in the world we live in. Although I grew up in the church. I thought it was okay to tell little white lies. One time, when I was nine, I didn't want to go to my friend Teri's house, so I told her I was coming down with the mumps. Have you been in a situation where you didn't want to hurt someone's feelings, so you thought it was okay to tell one of those little ones? (FYI: I came down with the mumps a week later). When I married Rob, he made it very clear: There was no such thing as a white lie. A lie is a lie. Ouch! Rob is one of the most honest men I know, and because I happen to live with him, I have learned a deeper meaning of integrity.
There is nothing more miserable than to be caught in a little white lie. Suddenly, your integrity is shot to, well, you know. The best thing to do is ask forgiveness, and then make it right. Admitting a fault is hard, but it brings a freedom that cannot be bought. What happens when irritating Inese from the office invites you over for dinner and you decline because you're going out of town--only to be caught at home watching your favorite chick-flick when she calls your house by mistake. What's Inese going to think? Your integrity is at stake here.
If you are an honest person, people will see Jesus through the life you live. You are the candle that refuses to be hid under a bush, the light that others will be drawn to. And at the right time, you will be able to share the gospel with them because you have earned their trust.
Many women are hurting, but because of pride, guilt, or shame, they don't feel like anyone would understand. Someone is looking at you as if you are some perfect woman who would never understand where they are coming from. Then, like Jesus when He reached out to the Samaritan woman, they find that you are full of love and compassion. You listen while they pour out their heart. You don't condemn. You offer a better way. You offer Jesus.
~ Integrity is Required to be a Spokeswoman ~ As Christians, we have an obligation to demonstrate good judgment in what we say and do. This is of utmost importance in the business world. Today, Christians are easy targets for claims of hypocricy. We say one thing, and do another. Let's be honest; we've all been hypocrites at some time in our lives. How can we make this right? By admitting our lack of perfection, and desire to improve. Jesus knows our hearts, and He knows that we are striving to be more like Him in every way.
~Thou Shall Not Judge thy Clients (co-workers, friends, whatever the case may be) ~ Whenever I'm talking to someone for the first time, I have a tendancy to give them a visual third degree. Her lipstick is too orange; her red skirt is too short; and oh my, her purple blouse is way too low! and I'm sure she's had a face lift--several times! Then that loving scripture in Luke 6 floats across my radar:
Judge not, lest ye shall be judged...I'm reminded that I don't know what that woman has been through in her life. I'm sure many women have looked at me and thought, What she needs in an extreme overhaul. What are we really looking for in our client? Yes, we are in business to offer our products, but God has put that client in our path for a divine purpose, even if we are to only give a few words of encouragement. So let's forget the exterior, and focus on the interior--the heart.
~ When Someone we Love Goes Astray ~ This is a time to love, not judge. The times in my past when I've gone astray, I avoided friends who judged and preached. Over lunch, it was a woman at work who listened without condemning who I eventually shared my hurts with. As we listen to the Holy Spirit, He will guide us as what to say, and when to speak. Until then, listen with a loving heart to those around you. This would be a good time to use the WHO factor: Wait-Hear-Obey.
~ Integrity is a Lifestyle ~ As Christian women--are there any men out there?--we have an obligation to demonstrate good judgement in what we say and do. Our actions, decisions, and attributes convey our moral code. Does your life reflect the Ten Commandments at work? Does God's love show in how you relate to your co-workers and your clients? As I'm writing, I must include pastors and church leaders--you know who you are. Speaking from experience, I can sadly say that some--not all--can be the worst examples of integrity. Enough said.
Today the corporate world is full of 'get even' behavior. Integrity is built on forgiving and forgetting.
~ Integrity allows a higher level of Service ~ As we build our integrity, we prepare ourselves to serve at higher levels. When I was in my fifties, I was content working at my corporate job. Everything was going great until one Tuesday when the district manager called me in to his office. Very nicely, I was let go, asked to leave--fired! I was stunned because I had never been laid off. I even offered to stay until I finished my projects. After I spoke my mind regarding the situation, my manager ended by saying, "We're giving you three months severence pay, and three thousand dollars compensation."...or something like that--how many years ago has it been? I actually did forgive and forget the details!
I experienced firsthand the cut-throat office politics of the corporate world. Little did I know that what waited for me beyond the large plexy-glass building was a tutoring job for a friend who had recently started her own business. I would have never had the opportunity of teaching those wonderful Asian children if I hadn't have been laid off--still sounds better than fired. That exit led me to greater and more exciting job opportunities. What did I learn through the pain and rejection? Forgive those who wrongfully accuse you. Forgetting is the process that comes with the healing power of the Holy Spirit.
~ A Lack of Integrity causes Separation ~ Jesus tells us to forgive those whom we are holding a grudge, so that our Father may forgive us (Mark 11:25). We can remove sin by confessing to God, who forgives and forgets immediately. This is vital to keeping the two-way communication link open. When unforgiveness abounds, God is with us, but He remains silent until we come to Him. He promises:
I will never leave you or forsake you. Hebrews 13:5Once we have become dependant on the Lord for decision-making, we don't want to lose that communication. God cares about our peace and our ability to serve Him. Our level of integrity parallels with our ability to fulfill our assignments on earth. Thought for the week: As Christians, we have an obligation to demonstrate good judgement in what we say and do. Our representation is viewed as the single most important means to determine if we are credible.