A few years ago I didn’t realize what I was getting into when my brother, Gary, asked me to help him move a piece of plywood from the upstairs playroom to the attic. The attic door was one of those petite little doors in the middle of the short wall of the playroom. He grabbed one end of the plywood. I grabbed the other. He backed into the attic while I tried to keep the plywood from obstructing my view. I guess I’m not as tall as I needed to be. He kept backing and I kept walking – right onto the pink insulation that was blown over the floor. Well, I thought it was the floor. I was wrong. The flooring ran out where the insulation started. Gary knew to walk on the rafters, but he forgot to share that little detail. Maybe it’s a man thing to know such things. I stepped right in the middle of a piece of sheetrock. I’m so glad God made armpits.
My pregnant sister-in-law was on the phone downstairs and began screaming, “I gotta go! Somebody’s leg just came through the ceiling!” She flew up the stairs just in time to see me hoist myself out of the rafters. I, very apologetically, told her I was sorry I busted through their garage. She sheepishly said, “No, that would be the living room.” Some days are just meant to be spent at the beach.
Integrity. Whether we are walking among the rafters or dealing with people, we all want integrity. We want to know things really are as they seem. We want friends we can believe in – people who remain the same in private as they are in the pew on Sunday morning. Alex and Stephen Kendrick (creators of the movie Courageous) put it this way, “If you are a man (or woman) of integrity, then you will speak the truth all the time, whether generally in broad terms or specifically when reporting facts. Whether much is at stake or nothing is at stake, you will be the same in public as you are in private. When you’re alone, working late, on the Internet, or filling out your tax return, you will consistently choose to do the right thing. You’re not perfect, but you are committed to walking in the truth.”
If we’re not careful we will try to hold others to a higher standard than we are willing to maintain. It sure is easy to look at others and see where their walk doesn’t match their talk, but then be very forgiving to the person we see in the mirror. If we are to expect integrity in others we must expect it in ourselves. We want the truth, so we must be truthful. We want promises to be kept, so we should keep ours. We want to be able to count on others, so we must do what we say we will do. We want others to love God, so we must love Him mightily.
When we allow Jesus to walk ahead of us we never need to fear slipping through the rafters. We can confidently allow our children and grandchildren to tag along behind knowing we are leading them safely. Jesus is the ultimate truth-sayer, promise-keeper, faith-instiller and soul-saver. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. When we walk in His steps the shaky ground beneath us becomes secure and we become people of integrity.
“Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” – Galatians 5:25