• Sue Cramer

Integrity Does Matter

You can not turn on the news today without hearing about greed. From the CEO’s petitioning Washington to bail them out, to the leaders of our nation that feel they are above the law and don’t need to pay their taxes like you and I do.

What gets me is that so many of these people have been highly respected as they lived above most of America. People looked up to them because they have so much money and power. But, they don’t have the one thing that is most respectable, integrity. They are not honest people.

Honesty is defined as fairness and straightforwardness of conduct, adherence to the facts. It’s not a difficult thing to understand. It’s called doing the right thing, even-and especially- when no one else is watching.

Doing the right thing is not difficult, unless you’re greedy.

Prov 15:27 27 A greedy man brings trouble to his family, but he who hates bribes will live. NIV Prov 28:25 25 A greedy man stirs up dissension, but he who trusts in the LORD will prosper. NIV

It is sad to see this economy crumble and hurt so many people. I don’t know anyone that has not been affected by it and I don’t believe we’ve begun to see all that will happen in this country as a result of greed.

Deut 25:15-16 15 You must have accurate and honest weights and measures, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. 16 For the LORD your God detests anyone who does these things, anyone who deals dishonestly. NIV

I believe God is exposing the lies of so many that built their empires on the backs of hard working people. God will have the last word in this. You can fool a lot of people, but you can’t fool God. He sees what is done in secret. They may think they have gotten away with it, but He will shine His light in that darkness in due time.

Gal 6:7-8 7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. NIV

And we as Christians, especially in leadership are held to an even higher standard because we bear His name. Honestly, that scares me, I don’t want to do anything to bring shame on His name.

1 Peter 5:1-4 To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers-not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. NIV

I hesitate to talk about this much because it really gets to me. I’m disgusted with most (not all) of what I see on Christian television. The greed and manipulation under the guise of “prosperity” just sickens me.

I’ll never forget one time when a women came to the church that my husband was pastoring and afterwards wrote me a letter about how we need to focus more on giving, that the offering wasn’t preached about enough. Well…I’m sorry. But we have this crazy idea that if you want to give, you will. We don’t have to convince or manipulate you to do it. Giving is at the heart of who God is. If we know and love the Lord, we will be givers.

The bottom line is, the truth always comes out. The corrupt leaders in this nation are finding that out the hard way. The same will continue in the Church. That is why we are never to put any person on a pedestal, that is reserved for God alone. Of course we respect authority and position, but not to the point of thinking that they are somehow “extra holy,” they are human just like you and I.

A perfect example of this is our President today. When you go beyond respect and straight to “awe” your setting yourself up to be disappointed. If you think your pastor walks on water, you’re setting yourself up to get hurt. They have a call on their life to care for, oversee and serve you…but they don’t have a halo over their heads. Hopefully they have integrity, if not, it will come out eventually.

But for you and I, we need to do the right thing-because it’s the right thing!

Integrity does matter.

This verse is says it well: Mic 6:8 8 He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. NIV

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