I remember the first time I pretended I was someone I wasn’t. I was in elementary school and we were at a Christmas party for my mom’s co-workers. A boy who was a few years older than me was there, and we met at the drink table where I grabbed some seltzer water, mistaking it for soda.
“That’s seltzer water,” he said.
“I know that,” I replied with totally feigned confidence, taking a sip and trying not to immediately spit it back out.
To this day, I cannot get behind seltzer, but goodness, I tried to pretend. Of course, this sort of moment happens for us regularly, and if we’re honest, we try to act like it isn’t happening. Perhaps we’re one way with family and another with our friends or coworkers. Maybe we say that we believe something but when the time comes to follow through, we talk ourselves out of it.
The book of Proverbs is all about wisdom, and there are many times that the word “integrity” comes up. Integrity –that is, living honestly in all circumstances, isn’t just about appearances. In fact, in Hebrew, it can be translated as “completeness.” This reminds us of the word shalom, which means “peace, wholeness, or completeness.” There is a peace we find when we are whole. There is a gift to being whole in our lives.
Proverbs 10:9 says, “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.”
You don’t have to be a business owner or lawyer to operate in integrity. Rather, we all have opportunities to be consistent behind closed doors and out in public. Do you find yourself speaking highly of someone in one context and then spinning it differently in another? Or maybe you pretend something is a bigger deal to make yourself look good? Or what about when you post things on social media you likely wouldn’t say to someone’s face?
We are given the chance to walk in integrity constantly. And if I’m honest? We can get really good at faking it. But it’s not just for the sake of looking good that we do it. We often throw integrity out the window forgetting that we’re being made into the image of Christ when we grow in our faith. And Christ is the ultimate example of integrity. He was never saying one thing and then doing another. He was never out to put His best foot forward. He had compassion, and He was still compassionate when no one was looking.
We live in an age of social media that gives us the chance to put up a front. And sometimes, I am tempted to give only the highlights. But when we do that, we aren’t just hurting ourselves, we’re hurting others by pretending that the right thing to be is insincere. They see our filtered images, and they feel less satisfied and smaller.
So the question I have to ask over and over again is this: Am I a whole person? Or am I abandoning myself in favor of an edited version?
If Jesus showed up in every circumstance with integrity, perhaps that ought to be my aim too.Leave a Comment