Ladies and gentlemen, let's talk integrity.
Dallas and I have come to the conclusion that there are three major problems with our world today (that's not to say that there are only three, but these ones seem to cause a lot of the others): Lying, selfishness, and lack of communication. We both are trying to remedy these in our own lives and encourage those around us to do the same. And so, The Integrity Project was born.
What is a lie? Well for one, it's a sin, one that God deemed a big enough deal to label it as one of the ten major no-nos for the Israelites. All this being lied to that I've been experiencing hurts. It hurts a lot actually. It makes me question my value. Why? Because lying to someone is making the claim that you do not deem them worthy of the truth.
This, however, is ludicrous. God placed an infinite value on humankind when He sacrificed His Son for our foolishness. No one is undeserving of the truth. If anything, it's one of those things people deserve most.
And why do we feel the incessant need to lie to each other? How does it benefit us at all? I have come to the conclusion that is is out of selfishness and fear. We so greatly desire to make ourselves appear good, to safeguard our own reputations as people of character that we will compromise our integrity to do so. Ironic, isn't it?
This is why so many people have trust issues. I'm willing to bet that everyone in the world has lied and been lied to at least a dozen times over the course of their lives. And let's be honest (*cough*), that's an incredibly conservative number. Lying shatters friendships, wrecks self-esteem, breaks hearts. It leads people to believe that they aren't good enough to be trusted with the truth and makes them hard and closed-off to the idea that other people can be trusted to tell it. When trust is broken, it is sometimes near impossible to regain.
That's where we come in. Due to a conversation I once had with my mentor, Bekah, I have chosen to abide by the philosophy that I am not allowed to complain about something unless I intend to fix it. This is my means of beginning to do so.
I know how much it hurts to be lied to, and I am all too familiar with the confidence blow that comes with it. Never do I want to inflict such pain and cause such self-doubting as I have felt. Never again will I tell another lie.
Now, surely I know, that a vow this great will not be easy to uphold. Taking this step requires that I re-vamp my entire way of thinking, that I train my mind and my mouth so that honesty is my first response. I began doing this a few months ago, and even now, the idea of lying to someone feels so unnatural. I am certain that this will continue.
Unfortunately, I know that the costs of this expedition may be great, as not only am I refraining from telling lies, I am also being completely forward and confrontational with people. Never in a cruel or harsh way, of course. But if someone is making a foolish mistake, or hurting me, or hurting someone who I love, I'm taking it upon myself to bring it up with him or her, free from the fear that I may offend someone. I'm not withholding any information. This surely means that many will be offended and decide they no longer want me around. But people who shy away from being honest and bettering themselves and helping me better myself aren't the kind of people I need in my life anyway.
Really, integrity is its own reward.
Man, that was cheesy.
My question for you now is this: Are you with me? I know that so many of you seek to pursue a lifestyle that is in step with that of our Designer. What better way to do it than this?
I think that through this, we will begin to change our world. Who's in?
Side-note-that-is-really-not-that-important-and-a-lot-more-light-hearted-and-humerous: This summer, some friends and I produced a short film about what I think is the secret life of my senior year Civics teacher - the one who got me to start thinking about the importance of integrity in the first place. It is called Captain Integrity, and it is below.