Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The challenge of - INTEGRITY

When people think of politicians, they think corrupt. When people think of businessmen, they think greedy. When people think of government, they think self centred and untrustworthy (in which the sentence might most likely end with a nasty swear word). Of course this is just generalising and stereotyping the above. When people think Christian, what would they say about us?

I would not be surprised if people actually think that we are all of the above. I recently read a book called 'They like Jesus but not the church' by Dan Kimball. Especially in this country (UK), when people here the word Christian, they cringe. I have realised that there is a tremendous mental block (more like a mountain actually) towards Christianity. How do you share the gospel in a country that were one of the major instruments in actually spreading the gospel to all the world for the past hundreds of years. Christianity is no new thing, but has been seen as more of a nuisance than contributing to society. The majority of the British population call themselves Christians, but that will only be true if being a Christian is to just celebrate Christmas and having a public holiday on Easter Monday.

So what has happened? Aren't we supposed to be salt and light? Well, we are in the world and yet show reflections of the world instead of the Kingdom of God. We have achieved the first part of integration with the world, but don't really know how to get out of it. This is because there is little difference between so called ‘Christians’ and ‘the world’. That is why people come out with terms such as ‘ungodly Christian’, ‘nominal Christian’ or ‘unholy Christian’. If that is true, then we should have terms such as ‘godly hindus’ or ‘holy atheist’. The more I think of it, the more ridiculous it seems. The term ‘Christian’ means ‘Christ-liked’. So by calling someone an ‘ungodly Christian’ in reality is actually like calling ‘ungodly Christ’. Its an oxymoron, both are contradicting each other and cannot coexist.

The reason for all these confusion is because the term Christian has been taken too likely. In the book of Acts, when the term ‘Christians’ was used, they were described as fanatically Jesus followers. That was one of the reasons the gospel spread like wild fire. They didn’t just leave their jobs to share the gospel. In fact, they shared the gospel through their work, business, school, farm etc. Their lives were totally transformed, and their fellow colleagues, workers and friends had ‘no choice’ but to be influenced by them totally and converted into Christianity.

So what’s wrong with us now? What has deteriorated the most ever since?
It is Character and Integrity.

In the destiny of every moral being there is an object more worthy of God than happiness- it is character.’ Austin Phelps

In these days of deception and duplicity many are crying out for integrity. Even our now former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato’ Seri Abdullah Badawi had to be nicknamed ‘Mr Clean’. So does that mean the others are all ‘dirty’? Integrity in relationship is rated highly among people surveyed; in fact it is considered more important in their friendship than any other trait. As we see in Job, God Himself considers integrity the highest priority. He even boasts about Job’s integrity to Satan.

A simple and famous explanation of ‘integrity’ is ‘what you do when no one is watching’ or ‘what you do behind closed doors’. Upon examining the dictionary, this nine letter word ‘integrity’ seems to be loaded with meaning. It is derived from a Latin word which means ‘wholeness or soundness’. It also means adherence to a code of values, utter sincerity, honesty and candor. Comprehensive as the dictionary is, ‘salt and light’ Christianity goes much further.

An even more interesting fact which I found fascinating was that the root word of ‘integrity’ was ‘integer’ now a mathematical term which means untouched, whole and entire. A closer examination of the root word ‘integer’ means whole numbers like one, two, four, eight and even zero. Fractions and mixed numbers like one and a half (1.5), or one fifth are not integers. This gives a revelational fact into Christian living. One cannot be a half Christian, one third Christian or even a 99% Christian, and possess integrity. We have to be 100% Christ’s to find wholeness, completeness, and fulfilment. As integrity forms an integral part of being a Christian, such is the standard of living out as a ‘Christ-liked’ one. Nothing lesser than full fledged integrity shall suffice the privilege of being affiliated with our saviour, king and master. Even if water is clear, that doesn’t mean it is pure. A drop of poison can destroy its purity, if not its clarity. So our purity – integrity – has to be complete.

It is certainly a tall order but an extremely necessary one! Lord, may we live a life of relevance without compromise for the sake of your Name.

Character is like a tree and reputation is like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.’ Abraham Lincoln


Anonymous said...

Another great post, my friend! :)

rendezvous@isaac said...

Thanks bro, God takes all glory!

MarcusDS said...

down the drain with democracy..lol..waiting to be pulled back out by indah water..

Leoz said...

When i think of Christian, i could only think of hypocrisy. They gave me kinda of holier-than-thou feeling. No wonder Mohammad Ghandi once said:" I love your Christ but I don't like your Christian."

Who are you now Christian??

* no offence intended.
I believe in Jesus, but i am not sure anymore whether i still want to be a Christian.

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