Friday, September 9, 2011
Day Four - Integrity
Integrity. So much in that word. The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. Standing up for the lesser than. Admitting when you're wrong. Holding strong to your beliefs.
The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out. Proverbs 10:9
The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity. Proverbs 11:3
The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful. Proverbs 12:22
The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him. Proverbs 20:7
To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. Proverbs 21:3
For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the yes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men. II Corinthians 8:21
Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way. Hebrews 13:18
These verses don't come close to covering all the verses in the Bible that talk about integrity. Having a clear conscience. Honor. Doing what is right and just. Being truthful.
We are responsible for our sons. We want to teach them to be little men filled with integrity, with the hopes that they will grow into men with integrity. Honest men. Faithful and truthful men. Honorable men. Men that will treat people right, will respect women, and everyone else around them. Men that will do the right thing, even when it's hard. Men that won't cave to popular opinion. How can we do that? It starts with us.
We need to look at ourselves. I find that that isn't always easy. It isn't always pretty. Am I filled with integrity? Do I always do the right thing. Am I always respectful? Sadly, the answer is no. Sometimes, especially in moments of tiredness and frustration, I say something I shouldn't. I raise my voice, and say some not so nice things to others or about others. Yuck. Looking at myself and my heart is not something I care to do, but i HAVE TO. I have to examine my own heart and actions, and correct them, so that I can set the example for my son. I don't always know what he is thinking, but I know he watches and listens to what I say and do. If it's okay for mama to say not so nice things, it's okay for him, right? Ummmmm.... reality check for mama. I have little eyes watching me. Little ears listening. What kind of an example am I setting? It needs to be one of integrity. I need to be honest in my actions. I need to have a clear conscience when I do something. I need to stay true to my beliefs. I need to take personal responsibility for my actions. We live in a society where nothing is ever your fault. You did something bad? Blame it on your parents, or your upbringing, or your teachers, the government, or almost anything else besides your self? What ever happened to taking responsibility for your actions? It starts at home.
I found a great article on Raising Kids of Strong Character and I want to share a few lines from that article:
"Be the example. Children learn their character traits best by watching others. Who better to watch than their father? Fathers are the role models in the household and they need to act that way. If you're doing shady business deals, cheating on your taxes or not practicing what you're preaching, your children will see that and pick it up as one of their traits as well. Even everyday things like running red lights when nobody is around, leaving a small tip for your waitress or taking the extra change that the cashier at the grocery store gives you shows a lack of integrity, too. Although these might seem like trivial things to you, they can still have a huge impact on an observant child. If you're going to act without integrity, don't let your children see it. The best thing to do is just act with integrity all the time - even when they're not watching."
This, of course, applies to mothers as well. Let's not try to "get away with it" when no one is watching. That's not integrity. That brings to mind that mentality of "I'm only sorry because I got caught". It takes daily practice to learn a trait. Let's do that! We need to be at battle for our sons, and that means we need to be at the forefront, leading the way, by example.
"Keep your promises. A child's memory is unbelievable. They might not remember to eat their vegetables in the cafeteria at school, but they'll remember two weeks ago when you said you'd take them to the baseball game. If you break that promise, they're going to remember it for years (and maybe even a lifetime). Keeping your word is part of showing integrity, so be sure to follow through with your promises at all costs. If it's just impossible to keep your promise, discuss the situation with your child and see if they'll let you "off the hook." But make sure this is more of the exception rather than the rule when you say you'll do something."
Ahhhh, the promise. It seems like promises are so easily made and broken, without a thought. Let's not do that. If we say we'll do something, let's do it.
A quote from Brooke:
"Did you know that we can't give our sons something we don't have? Look back over the last week or month of your life. One of the BEST things we can do for our sons is to admit when we've sinned and ask them to forgive us for it. Show your sons the power of humility and use every opportunity; even your failures, to teach them to walk in the truth. What a wonderful God we serve, who allows even our sin to draw our sons closer to Him!"
Let's do our best today to walk with integrity, to be a shining example to our sons, to our families. Pray the integrity prayers over your sons. Be intercessors for them.
Tomorrow is Day 5 - Avoiding Foolishness. I look forward to hearing from y'all, and I pray you have a wonderful, blessed day!