Are you Prudent in Speech?
The Oxford Dictionary definition of integrity is very interesting; ‘the condition of having no part or element wanting, material wholeness, completeness, entirety. Unimpaired or uncorrupted state. Soundness of moral principle, the character of uncorrupted virtue, righteousness, honesty and sincerity.’
Integrity is a virtue that we are to add to our lives. 2Pet.1:5 ‘And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge.’
Peter states that to become partakers of the divine nature, you have to add some things to your faith. In other words you have the divine nature in you when you are ‘born again,’ but for you to benefit from that new nature you have to partake of it, by obedient diligence. Virtue is the second characteristic to add to your faith in Jesus Christ. The Amplified Bible talks about ‘developing’ virtue. Virtue and the other characteristics listed have to be developed.
How do you develop these characteristics? you are given opportunities to exercise them! There is no better opportunity than being with your spouse. How do you talk about your spouse to others? How do you talk about your leaders at church with others? Do you complain or murmur, do you add your bit to a negative comment someone else made about their spouse or church leader by saying…. ‘my wife / husband is like that, or yea I know what you mean leader so and so is like that or Pastor so and so is like that.’ In doing so you are adding your spouse or leader to that illegitimate list that other person has in their mind, about people who they look down on. Thus you have lowered the respect level that other person gives to those you talked about. You chose to come into agreement with others comments using your spouse or leader, thus you have dis-honoured them. Why do we do that, I say we, because this temptation comes along all the time in ‘idle conversations,’ to all of us and we have all done it. Nevertheless when we do do it, most of the time, it is because we want to be generous to the person we are speaking with, to say we understand what they mean, and use an example to demonstrate we understand. But there is a hidden trap there. Use yourself as the example by all means! never anyone else, it is verging on gossip.
Underneath this desire to agree with the other person and using someone else as an example, can be the sense of wanting to agreciate yourself with them. Maybe they make you feel inferior, or intimidate you in some way and you feel you must say something. A person of integrity has ‘material wholeness, completeness, entirety.’ They are ‘complete in Him,’ nothing missing, nothing broken. They do not need to draw from others some feeling of recognition or acceptance. Therefore their words are few. If your spouse or leader got to hear what you said about them, and the kind of person who heard you say that, will be just the person to ‘let them know,’ you will plummet to one degree or another in the estimation of those who have placed their trust in you. Winning back trust can take a long time. Perhaps it is worth saying here too, that a similar strategy to demote you in other peoples eyes, is the temptation to make a joke at the expence of your spouse or leader the the company of others.
Extract from my new book “The Spirit of and Armour Bearer.” see publications menu