I’m Trying to Love You Even If You Are Integrity-Challenged

I was talking with a banker yesterday about integrity in everyday life.  He told me that when he was laid off a few years ago, it was tempting to phone it in, in terms of his last week on the job.  But he felt that it was important to work until 5:00 pm even on his last day.

That’s what integrity looks like.

What integrity doesn’t look like:

  • Phoning it in.
  • Withholding information to maintain power.
  • Taking credit for other people’s ideas.
  • Blaming other people for the mistake we made.
  • Threatening behavior – “I will _____ if you don’t _____.” I will leave the church and take my money with me if you don’t let me run the Personnel Committee.  Bye. Bye.
  • Skimming money off of whatever (donations for charity, etc.)
  • Gas-lighting those who disagree with us.
  • Saying one thing and doing the opposite.
  • Expecting behaviors from colleagues that we would never expect from ourselves.

I have met pastors who are integrity-challenged and maybe you have too.  We can do a lot of damage – spiritually and emotionally – if we go about our lives without integrity, especially if we are in ostensibly trustworthy positions: Pastor, Deacon, Elder.

It’s hard for me to love you if you are integrity-challenged, but I’m trying. It’s impossible for me to recommend you to be somebody’s pastor if integrity is not your thing.  (Note: it will also be hard for me to vote for you if integrity is not your thing.)

The Good News:  we can all do better.

The Bad News: the dearth of integrity in the world makes us cynical and exhausted.

But it’s life-giving to shock someone by doing a lavishly generous thing when we don’t have to.  I believe that Jesus lived a life of perfect integrity and I’m trying to be more like Jesus. But it’s a challenge most days.

Image is Jesus of the People by Janet McKenzie (1999)  Jesus perfected תֹּם .

One response to “I’m Trying to Love You Even If You Are Integrity-Challenged

  1. I have watched a large, well established church disintegrate due to this issue of integrity. The members wanted to “phone it in,” so they hired, consecutively, two pastors totally lacking in integrity who both took them to the cleaners. With the first pastor, I tried to get various members to see the light, but they thought I was the one who was crazy (there’s that gaslightlieg thing), and after many failed attempts to point out the issues, I finally left.


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