Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out. – Proverbs 10:9
Well it’s officially September. Summer is mostly behind us, the kids are back in school and we’re ramping up for yet another year. Strategic planning, budgeting and goal setting will be big topics for the coming days. We are rested, refreshed and ready to keep fighting the good fight against poverty, homelessness and injustice.
Over the summer we took a break from exploring The Salvation Army’s ten core values. Now that September has rolled around, our next core value is ‘integrity’.
It’s the perfect word to be honing in on at this time of year. None of our work matters without integrity.
But what does the word ‘integrity’ mean? There are many ways to define it. Honest, loyal, unwavering, steadfast and trustworthy are just a few words used to describe it. Yet as I’ve been thinking about it, I’ve wondered if a series of words could possibly do justice to the meaning or if it needs to be defined by a lifestyle. At The Salvation Army we take our lead from Jesus, observing the model of living that He demonstrated for us. For me, Jesus defines integrity. He stood tall and refused temptation when asked to compromise. He spoke truth in love at any cost. He wasn’t willing to compromise his own values for the sake of getting ahead. He lived humbly, was gentle and kind, didn’t abuse His power, served His people, cried for those He loved, embraced the simple things, hung out with and befriended society’s outcasts, broke down social expectations, laughed and partied with His friends when others frowned upon that kind of behaviour, kept His promises and paid the ultimate price of laying down His life for the sake of love.
That’s what integrity means.
If we’re being honest with ourselves, we can never live up to that standard. In many ways we’re all hypocrites. Well I’ll speak for myself at least and say I know I am. But I’m striving for integrity. Even though we haven’t arrived there, we strive for integrity as an organization. In doing so, by attempting to do our work by paying attention to Jesus’ kind of integrity, we’ll see lives changed; including our own.
With integrity, let’s keep on striving to be ‘The Hand of God in the Heart of the City’.
Dion Oxford, Director of Mission Integration
Father, You know the true content of my heart though others may be fooled by my words and actions. So it is with You that I must keep a short account and pray from a genuine heart that I will act in accordance to Your revealed will and think upon those things which are honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report. Thoughts form in my mind before they are spoken from my mouth, so I pray that You would purify my mind, keep my tongue from evil, and enable me to stand for that which is honorable in Your sight so that I pass the tests of life and hear you say, “I am pleased with your integrity.” In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.