Detestable and Delightful Hearts (365 Days of Daring Faith — DAY 301)
Proverbs 11:20 (NLT)
The Lord detests people with crooked hearts, but he delights in those with integrity.
The word “integrity” is thrown around a lot these days. We trust that our leaders are men and women of integrity. We believe our employers or co-workers work alongside us with integrity. Even in our homes, we’d like to think that our spouse and children and extended relatives are upright people who walk in honesty and truth.
The word “integrity” means moral uprightness. It means honor, good character, and abiding by ethics and virtue. It is also sincerity and truthfulness. Integrity is not perfection. If perfection were any part of its definition, none of us would have it. The Bible says that God delights in those who live with integrity. When we live with integrity, we possess a pure heart that knows the purpose of God for our lives, feels the power of God in our souls, and receives the peace of God in our hearts.
God wants us as followers of his to live, walk, work, speak, think, and act with integrity. This means that we do the right things at the right times in the right ways and with the right motives. Many people compartmentalize their lives into different sections and they act accordingly. For example, they may act one way at home and then another way at work. Or they may say one thing at church and another thing at a city council meeting.
We see this in politics very blatantly. A politician speaks in the affirmative to one group and then goes and says the complete opposite to another group. This is why the political pundits on cable news have so much to talk about. This isn’t the way God wants us to live. And this is really a stressful way to live because you always have to remember how you acted here as opposed to how you acted there. You have to constantly juggle what you said to this person with what you’re saying now to that person. You see how integrity and having a pure honest heart makes life so much easier.
When Jesus walked the earth, he was the real deal. He wasn’t one way with his disciples and another way around the Pharisees. If he were, he may have never been crucified. But he wasn’t. He spoke the truth to everybody. Integrity means you’re the same person all day, every day, with everybody, wherever you go. Your actions, words, and motives are the same. You’re not a hypocrite. People love it when a real person shows up and is authentically who God made them to be.
God is an honest Father. And he wants his children who are made in his image to possess and reflect his reputation of integrity and truthfulness. A life of integrity leads to a life of trust, an existence in which you can live openly with joy and courage because you don’t have to keep looking over your shoulder to avoid trouble. Crooked hearts are detestable, but truthful hearts are delightful.
“If you lose your integrity, you will also lose your identity, your sensitivity and your dignity. Integrity is honesty, modesty and security in all kinds of weather. It should be our priority.”
— Israelmore Ayivor