Tag Archive: integrity


 

whatyoudo

 

One aspect that strongly defines your character is whether the person you actively are backs up the person you talk yourself up to be.

Another way i have seen that quote above written is like this: What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.

And it is completely true. Another area that this touches on is that of consistency. Is the person you speak yourself to be also the person you are in the day to day of life?

So if you are someone who talks big about the disparity between rich and poor and the need for the wealthy to give up their wealth and look after those who are in need and how everyone at your church needs to be involved in the local homeless shelter… but then you live a completely luxurious life and never spend any time with the poor. People are going to take away the lived out message over the spoken one.

LIVING OUT YOUR SPEAK

In the letter of 1 John in the Bible, chapter 3, it says it beautifully like this:

18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

Maybe a good way to do this would be to use our voices when we are talking about stories we have been involved with [and also sharing the stories of other people we know] as opposed to things we think we should do. So if you don’t have a story, go and do a thing that will result in a story [don’t do it to have a story – do it cos it is an amazing thing to do] and then inspire others with the stories of real live transformative events.

A second important truth is to be intentional about updating the stories we tell. If the story of the last amazing thing we did is a ten year old story, maybe it’s time we stepped down from the speaking circuit and went back to living out the stories for a while. i know i am tired of telling the old stories – i am ready to be living some new ones [and am with Common Change which is great, and you can be too!] and so constantly need to be aware of this.

How are you doing in this? Is this an area you maybe need to work on? 

[For the next post looking at the words we speak, click here]

 

character3

How do you judge good character?

 The idea or concept of ‘Character’ and ‘A person of good character’  seems, to me, to be a bit of subjective or elusive in terms of definition.

And so, instead of trying to come up with any kind of definitive definition [is there such a thing as a non-definitive definition?] of what i mean when i talk about a person of character, i thought it might be more helpful to describe some aspects that i [and possibly some others, and hopefully also you] think of when i think of the idea.

I started by suggesting that having a more positive than negative presence on social media [and in life in general] was one way of assessing character.

CONSISTENCY [aka BE WHO YOU ARE] 

For me, something that is a huge aspect of character is the trait of consistency. 

Now this doesn’t necessarily mean being the same way in different circumstances and with different people, but it does mean being the same person.

You won’t behave the same way with the CEO of a big company as you would when doing a family dinner or as you would when hanging out with a group of your mates. So I’m not saying that. What I am strongly saying is that in terms of the person you are, you will maintain that in the different groups of people and contexts, not trying to come across as one thing with one person and a different thing with another. That would be the term two-faced, which is the opposite of character. And in fact is closely linked to the word hypocracy which derived, as you all know from the Greek word ὑπόκρισις (hypokrisis) which was used to describe an actor [someone pretending to be someone else].

For me, Jesus Christ was such a great example of this. He definitely carried Himself differently when addressing the Pharisees or speaking to the crowds than when He was merely hanging with His disciples or having one on one encounters with people. But who He was didn’t change. He didn’t change His message or demeanour to impress the crowds. He stayed consistent in terms of who He was and the message He was delivering, but changed the style and way of speaking to be relevant to whoever His audience was.

Be who you are. Trust that that is enough and if it not then change who you are, not how you present yourself. But Dr Seuss said it well:

seuss

What are some of the things you think defines character?

[for the next part on character looking at living out what you speak, click here]

i know it’s early days, but already this is proving to be an exciting exercise for me and one of the benefits of working through the psalms is discovering ‘new’ ones… i am not saying someone has been sneaking into my bible and adding in new psalms when i haven’t been looking but often when we read the bible we stick to the passages we know well and like and avoid the harder ones or even the books with weird sounding names we have to use the index to find…

so with psalms it is often 23 or my favourite 34 or 121 and 139. it is great to go through one by one because i will get to those psalms in turn, but i will also discover some classic gems along the way…

and on to psalm 7:

this feels similar to the point i made about psalm 5 where David is saying things i’m not convinced his life can back up… certainly things i’d be a lot more nervous to utter… in verses 8-9 he says, ‘Let the LORD judge the peoples. Vindicate me, LORD, according to my righteousness, according to my integrity, O Most High. Bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure — You, the righteous God who probes minds and hearts.’

So David is asking God to judge him according to “my righteousness” and “my integrity” – again, this must have supposedly been written before the whole Bathsheba incident when David would not have been clamoring for those to be the measure points. I know, for my life, as much as i strive for personal righteousness and integrity, that i often fall short. i miss the mark and get it wrong a lot of the time which negates my righteousness. and i have really strong feelings on things like pirating movies/music and telling ‘little white lies’ but am not as strict when it comes to breaking the speed limit or some other things like that so personal hypocrisy in what i stand for and how i live it out often does surface which takes out my integrity from time to time.

so i am not convinced i would want to appeal to God to judge me on the basis of those two things. reminds me of the definitions of mercy and justice: justice is getting what we deserve and mercy is not getting what we deserve and i generally am super amped to lean towards mercy [especially when it comes to parking tickets and speeding fines if i deserve either of those]

i think the last phrase of that verse sums it up – ‘the righteous God who probes minds and hearts’ – God knows. And knowing that God knows [as David gets a lot more familiar with after the Bathsheba incident] i am a lot quicker to meet Him in a place more reliant on His righteousness and integrity than my own.

then the second thing that stood out for me was the language used towards the end which is just some great and explicit imagery that conveys well what he is speaking about – ‘Whoever is pregnant with evil conceives trouble and gives birth to disillusionment. Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit they have made. The trouble they cause recoils on them; their violence comes down on their own heads.’ [16-18]

Reminiscent once more of the depiction of sin in James 1 – ‘When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.’ [13-15]

And the message that is loud and clear is don’t give time to sin. The imagery of conception and birth refers to a pretty substantial time length – 9 months – and so the idea is that the person involved has entertained and nurtured temptation/sin until such time that it has become a destructive force. We need to kill sin at the root and deal with it as quickly as possible when it emerges or the effect it has on us will be devastating. Keep a short account with God – don’t go to sleep at nite with unconfessed sin lingering, because that way it is too easy for it to grow and give birth…

[To continue on to Psalm8, click here]

[To return to the start of this series on Psalms as well as some other Bible things, click here]

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