08 Nov What really is at Stake?
Integrity is a fancy topic for many; almost all Christians know about it, many discuss it, some even preach it, but only a few practise it.
Of all the men in the Bible, only one man received testimony from the very lips of God of being with integrity – Job. When his friend Eliphaz accused him of sinning, Job pleaded, “Relent, do not be unjust; reconsider, for my integrity is at stake” (Job 6.29 – NIV)
Everything Job had appeared to have left him – his properties, robbed; his children, killed; his wife, became belligerent; his body, turned sore and painful; his friends could only accuse him and not console him; God appeared to have caused all this – and this man gives the statement of his life, “my integrity is at stake”.
As we read every verse of the book – we don’t find a lament concerning his robbed property; he does not mourn his dead children; he does not mourn his ailing body – all he mourns is his friends accusing him of being corrupt and sinful – “my integrity is at stake”. One of my classmates during college days, who consistently was in the top ten of our class, was caught cheating during the exams. She was taken away from the exam hall and was suspended for a period. One day I asked her, “Why did you do it? You are much better than that.” With a sad face she replied, I could not study and I could not fail the exam – my education is at stake.
This is precisely the reason why God is disappointed in mankind. Refer what he utters through Isaiah: No one calls for justice; no one pleads a case with integrity. They rely on empty arguments, they utter lies; they conceive trouble and give birth to evil (Isa. 59.04 – NIV)
WHAT REALLY IS AT STAKE?
One of the naughtiest nursery rhymes in my view is “Johnny, Johnny!” Apparently, Johnny’s father asks Johnny if he is eating
sugar. Johnny casually answers, “NO.” But when his father catches him in his lie and asks him to open his mouth, Johnny switches on his boyish charms and laughs! Johnny is a kid, but what this tells us is that we never had the worry – my integrity is at stake – not when
we were kids and not after we have become grownups. In fact, perhaps we never completely comprehend what integrity means. David sheds some light on this in his excellent prayer recorded in Chronicles:
I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things I have given willingly and with honest intent. . . (1 Chr. 29.17)
Motives and actions have to match according to David’s statement here. Remember the Pharisees that Jesus often rebuked – they help the poor, but in doing so proclaim to everyone of their generosity – their action is helping the poor; but their motive is selfglory. There is a mismatch.
The Pharisees themselves help us understand integrity more, for they send their disciples to Jesus who say this:
We know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are (Matt. 22.16 – NIV)
Being the same in various conditions is another facet of integrity. Jesus was not bothered who was challenging him, so He always adhered to the truth. Peter was worried about those challenging him, which is why he denied Jesus and then later in time sided with the circumcised. Job maintained his integrity when he was the richest man in the East and when he was a ball of flesh on the dust – conditions or situations, good or bad did not change him.
Consider Job and Jesus – their lives were at stake; yet they did not have that in mind. To give up what they believed, what they valued
was tragic than death for them. It is to this nature we ought to grow into – our petty lives, marriages, careers and other things will
always be at stake; we can choose either to lie our way out of tough positions or realize our integrity is at stake and embrace truth.
If you embrace truth, I promise you in whatever situation you are, Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear (Isa.59.01 – NIV).
About the Author
Pradeep works as an Insights Director at IMRB International in Chennai and involved in ministry since 1997. He blogs at http://thesprintingmind.blogspot.in/