Integrity. I once participated in a series of conference calls where the participants were asked to define integrity. Can you? We use the word all the time, but what does it mean? Being good? Having morals? Perhaps being honest? If I have integrity, is it simply that I never lie? Perhaps I never hurt anyone?
"the state of being whole, entire, undiminished" is the most specific definition that captures the meaning of the word integrity. The conclusion we were brought to in the series of calls was that a person of integrity does what he/she says. Have you ever thought about how important it is to do what we say? I hadn't, until that day when 15 or so participants in the call were challenged to think about it. I've endeavored, often unsuccessfully, to keep my word ever since that call and have discovered how rare it is, not only in my own life, but in others. I realized that "keeping my word" is a lot more than just keeping promises - it's adhering to the words that come out of my mouth. The Bible has A LOT to say about our unruly tongues, but the verse that really sticks out to me, at least currently, is Psalm 34:13 ..."Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit". All I can say is wow. What a goal to reach for!
so why the sermon on integrity? I've been at the wrong end of several business situations, where the retailer hasn't shown me much integrity. Winter is over, the chance of having overnight freezing temps is dwindling rapidly, which is testified to by the robins, the little tree frogs, and the daffodils, all loudly welcoming warmer weather. I ordered a woodstove for the new great room, in October 2012. Do I have it yet?
The Wittus woodstoves company has answered most of my phone calls in the last 5 months, with a variety of justifications for why I still don't have my stove, and a series of promises as to when I could expect it. I love Wittus stoves. They are beautiful and contemporary and colorful. But the honest truth is that if I had known that I would go through this runaround before I'd ordered my stove, I wouldn't have chosen the Wittus company. period. To date, I can expect my stove in June. This is a good example of a lack of integrity.
Another example of a company exercising a lack of integrity is the local Hyla air filter/vac company. I purchased a very expensive Hyla vac from a local company, and at the end of the presentation, in early March, as they packed up they discovered that the manual wasn't in their briefcase. The man promised to either drop it off himself within 24 hours or have his subordinate do so. A month later, I still don't have the manual, and am not sure of the purpose of some of the attachments I have! Yes, I called the office, and received apologies. I didn't receive a manual, though.
Having been abused in this fashion by companies lacking integrity, I can FEEL how important it is that I exercise integrity. James 3:2 says "For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body." While I may not reach this lofty goal until Jesus brings me into heaven, it sure looks like a great goal to strive for, every single day!