Rev. Jonathan K. Twitchell
Integrity. We often think of the word as talking about honesty, or telling the truth. And yet, integrity has much more to do with whether or not our actions are consistent with the beliefs in our hearts and the words that come out of our mouths. When we think of integrity, we ought to think about wholeness and sound character. A person with integrity has a fully integrated life where her actions are informed by her beliefs. She behaves the same way, whether at church, work, or home.
While the scripture lesson today was initially addressed to the Jewish Christians, it has something to say to all who would call themselves subjects in the Kingdom of God. When Christians preach one way and live another, the world takes notice. When we fail to live out a fully integrated life informed by Kingdom principles, we cause God’s name to be blasphemed in the world around us.
Brennan Manning has said, "The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable."
In the course of a normal week, I encounter several people who describe themselves as “spiritual.” They want to be clear that they are not religious, and that they don’t go to church. And yet, they are aware of a spiritual hunger for something more. I wonder how many of these people have turned away from the Kingdom of God because of the actions of the subjects in that Kingdom.
While internal examination ought to part of the regular habits of a Christian, the season of Lent provides a focused opportunity for this sort of examination. As we examine ourselves, we may discover some areas where we lack integrity… where our doing and our saying simply don’t line up. And when we discover those areas, may we offer the proper response of confession and repentance.
O Eternal God, my Savior and Lord, I acknowledge that all I am and all I have is yours. I pray that you will surround me with such a sense of your infinite goodness, that I may return to you all possible love and obedience, through Jesus Christ, Amen.