Integrity – Either You Have it or You Don't

Friends, it gets down to checking your gut. What is inside? Are you dead or alive inside? A tree will easily break when it is dead inside; likewise, a tree will bend when alive and filled with nourishment. When a tree is alive, it will seek light for its canopy. In other words, a live tree will seek to be more alive! In a forest, as a tree seeks life (light), it will become stronger; the weaker trees often suffer stunted growth as their canopies can’t capture as much light. A choice to grow and become more alive takes work; for stunted growth, one only needs to sit there. The question remains: Will you be one to deliver “useful wood”, or will you be one to deliver “trash”? As the saying goes, any dead fish can go with the flow of the stream. What will your choice be? Will you swim against the current found in this fallen world, taking a better less traveled direction?

Do you run a stop light because others do? Maybe you should rob a bank because others do…no? So, I guess it is okay to run the stop light but not rob the bank then. Sounds like you are drawing a line between the two? Who tells you where to draw the line? Is it your own common sense? Frankly, if you subscribe to this kind of decision-making, then I don’t believe you have much common sense. My point is this, you either act on your own integrity or you don’t; there is no “drawing the line” at some artificial point where it is okay to let down your integrity and then pick it up again. Once laid down, integrity rarely comes back.

“All men cheat” is a lie and a most stupid excuse. The question is, do you have integrity or not? Either you do or you don’t…period. There is no such thing as “private integrity” or “public integrity”. If you have integrity then it will show privately or publicly just the same; you can not turn it off and on, if turned off integrity will always fall away. Oh, you may fool people for a short time, but the truth will always come out eventually. You know this is true; the real test of a properly nourished person is what do they do when they are alone? What do you do when no one is looking?

Integrity – Either You Have it or You Don’t

Friends, it gets down to checking your gut. What is inside? Are you dead or alive inside? A tree will easily break when it is dead inside; likewise, a tree will bend when alive and filled with nourishment. When a tree is alive, it will seek light for its canopy. In other words, a live tree will seek to be more alive! In a forest, as a tree seeks life (light), it will become stronger; the weaker trees often suffer stunted growth as their canopies can’t capture as much light. A choice to grow and become more alive takes work; for stunted growth, one only needs to sit there. The question remains: Will you be one to deliver “useful wood”, or will you be one to deliver “trash”? As the saying goes, any dead fish can go with the flow of the stream. What will your choice be? Will you swim against the current found in this fallen world, taking a better less traveled direction?

Do you run a stop light because others do? Maybe you should rob a bank because others do…no? So, I guess it is okay to run the stop light but not rob the bank then. Sounds like you are drawing a line between the two? Who tells you where to draw the line? Is it your own common sense? Frankly, if you subscribe to this kind of decision-making, then I don’t believe you have much common sense. My point is this, you either act on your own integrity or you don’t; there is no “drawing the line” at some artificial point where it is okay to let down your integrity and then pick it up again. Once laid down, integrity rarely comes back.

“All men cheat” is a lie and a most stupid excuse. The question is, do you have integrity or not? Either you do or you don’t…period. There is no such thing as “private integrity” or “public integrity”. If you have integrity then it will show privately or publicly just the same; you can not turn it off and on, if turned off integrity will always fall away. Oh, you may fool people for a short time, but the truth will always come out eventually. You know this is true; the real test of a properly nourished person is what do they do when they are alone? What do you do when no one is looking?

Producing Good Shade and Shelter…it is About What is Inside You! Character Matters!

Paul instructed that what was important was inside and not on the surface of a person. What is down deep inside a person is much more important than what you see on the outside. Most will decide about a person based on looks rather than waiting to see what comes from within. As a Harley Davidson motorcycle enthusiast, I often will travel dressed in black leather, boots and a facial mask if in the winter. Sights some associate with the “one percenters”, the outlaw bikers, but we 99 percenters are a much different breed. My wife and I were sitting on a brick wall at the Harley dealership in Hot Springs, Arkansas, viewing a sea of Harleys and their riders gathered for the Arkansas HOG Rally [HOG = Harley Owners Group]. I think it was the first time my wife found herself around hundreds of bikers; we watched the people. Soon 3 bikes backed up in front of us and their riders disembarked loosening their gear, it was obvious they had travel far to find this parking spot. A middle-aged lady soon revealed herself out from under all her riding gear and with the manner of some lost relative just started visiting with us. They had traveled north from Beaumont, Texas to join the Hot Springs biker rally; my wife was amazed how friendly everyone was. We walked through the sea of motorcycles, many draped by their rider’s expensive leather jackets. No one touched anything. Looking at these $400 to $800 dollar jackets just laying there, I wondered how long a leather jacket of this quality would last in a shopping mall parking lot in Oklahoma City. You won’t find any group anywhere that is more friendly, more honest, more hard working, more caring, more patriotic and more fun than HOG people. Yes, the tie is the Harley, their iron horse, but more importantly it is what is inside these modern day cowboys and cowgirls.

Using architecture as a metaphor:

Architects & Owners look to spend the money on what is seen in their buildings; it is their expression, their presentation. Obviously, it is much more fun to think about the “glitz”; often this is what is rewarded in the architectural design award circles. An architect is praised by what you see and not how well the architecture looks over time, or how well it keeps the water out, or how low the maintenance costs are, or how well it functions for the user, or how little waste of resources is created. The difference can be the small details around the windows, the doors, the roofing membranes, the various coatings, the waterproofing, and the sealants; this is what really counts. Oh, I believe in the importance of good timeless design, but it is what is behind the visible surfaces that really matters to fine architecture. A person is just the same; it is what is behind visible treatments that really matters. Furthermore, architecture will not have integrity and vitality unless the “form-giver”, the “life-giver” [the architect] also has integrity. With no vitality, the so-called architecture is only going to be “a building”…just sitting there with no life in it, and it won’t stand the test of time.

Ken Pate wrote an article for the Harley Owners Group’s magazine, “Enthusiast”, entitled “Worth the Ride”. He told of how his wife was so mad when he bought his Harley in 2003 and that she didn’t talk to him for weeks and that she would never ride on it. One day in 2004 she was told she had colon cancer and wanted to go for a ride…on his bike. Soon they were riding all the time, she even got her own trike; they ended up a HOG meeting where they met many wonderful people. Ken said of that meeting, that it was the best thing they did together in 46 years of marriage. Later his wife was diagnosed with lung cancer. The HOG Chapter rallied to help the couple in many ways over the years. When Ken’s wife passed away in 2010, the funeral planned by Ken and his wife included their Harley family leading the funeral procession…maybe 25 bikes they thought. On the day of the funeral, a police escort and 74 bikes led the way! What is a true family anyway, I ask? I would say these folks were producing very good “shelter & shade” benefits by having proper roots and good nourishment. It didn’t matter about politics, money, position, or anything else; it was about caring for one another as a family of humanity.

Truth, integrity, honor…are these words pas-se these days?

Truth, integrity, honor…are these words pas-se these days? They may be to all of us earthlings, but they are not to God. People lie so often these days, it almost seems normal to do so. School teachers have been caught lying about and altering test results to make their efforts look better; sending the obvious though wrong student reaction: “if they do it, so can we”…and so the students cheat in great numbers. The media lies about and conveniently leave out their undesirable facts within their stories just to suit their political agendas. Honesty anyone?

Teachers, not knowing themselves about US history, teach revisionist untruthful lesson plans to fit a constructed liberal doctrine. Don’t believe me? …check out the new history books. Borne out of “inclusive language”, political correctness has now become censorship of free-speech. “Zero tolerance” in schools only proves to our students that teachers, administrators and adults at large, are unable to think, reason and solve problems. There is no integrity in lumping all action into one set of responses. Lacking the past integrity of a firm handshake, business contracts don’t mean anything today unless reinforced in a courtroom; assuming your insurance company allows you to even go to court in lieu of simply paying-off a frivolous lawsuit; thus adding gasoline to the frivolous lawsuit bonfires started by hoards of un-honorable people. Politicians call each other “honorable” and yet prove themselves to be the most corrupt, dishonest, liars of the bunch!

Friends, we are not in a good position in this country; we must get back to speaking the truth by disavowing liberal “relativism” and accepting that there is indeed an absolute truth. We must demand integrity in our leaders. We must expect honor again, and call it out when it goes missing. Apathy kills!

In the Book of Acts, chapter 5, we can read about Ananias and Sapphira. They sold a piece of property which was perfectly fine to do. They gave a portion to the Church which was perfectly fine to do. So, why did they die that every day? They died because they lied to the Holy Spirit and to the Church. They claimed that the money given to the Church was the money received from the sale of the property; if only they had simply told the truth…how easy that would have been!

God expects His disciples to be truthful. John 8:31-32…So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” It is interesting that if you simply tell the truth, you never have to worry about what you said years earlier. It actually produces freedom and peace in your heart. How right the Biblical text is in Zechariah 8:16…These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace. Certainly, you do not like people lying to you; don’t you long for honestly from others? Then, why don’t you act first? We are one family of earthlings; let truth begin with you. Ephesians 4:25… Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Truth, integrity, honor…are words that are NOT pas-se to God.