Honesty is the best policy, but there are very few policy holders these days.  America is truly suffering an integrity crisis.  Ventriloquism is not very impressive anymore with so many of us able to talk out of both sides of our mouths, and some quite eloquently.  To be a man of integrity these days is a challenge to say the least.  We will swim upstream more often than not.  To keep our integrity will undoubtedly cost us something.  But to lose our integrity is far more costly.  I would like to take a quick look at 4 aspects of integrity. 

For me the very foundation of integrity is biblical thinking.  2 Timothy 2:15 says we are to “handle accurately the word of truth.”  Of course some of us do not even attempt to think biblically.  This may be outside of your viewpoint and that’s your right. But to be straight-forward about it, this is where I am coming from. As a follower of Christ I must become skilled at thinking biblically.  Read Proverbs 2:2-6 to get a sense of the skillful thinking we are challenged to engage in.  Sloppy thinking is the order of the day in religion, politics, economics, and ethics.  But my order of the day should be biblical thinking.  It will take work, though.  The first part of 2 Timothy 2:15 tells us to “study to show yourself approved unto God.”  The word for “study” there actually means “make every effort.”  It is work, but consider the reward promised:  a lifestyle approved by God. 

The second aspect is pretty straight forward.  Don’t lie.  Besides the 9th commandment, consider Romans 12:17b, “Provide things honest in the sight of all men.”  Obviously telling a bold face Burger King lie (a whopper) is the wrong road for Christians.  But the goal is still higher than that.  The goal is to provide others with a clear picture of reality, the reality of the situation, the reality of our heart.  This does not mean we have to say everything that comes into our heads, but it does mean that when we speak, the picture we give is not cloudy or distorted, but is accurate. 

Thirdly, do what we say we will do!  Jesus and his half brother James both said “let your yes be yes and your no be no.”  We should not even need oaths, solemn promises, contracts, and down payments.  If I say I will do something people should be able to count on me to do it.  This is accomplished in 2 ways.  First, “be careful little lips what you say”.  It might feel quite gallant to make all sorts of promises to do this or that, but I shouldn’t make promises I can’t keep.  We need to think about what we are saying.  Let our lips flap in the breeze too much and we might get carried away.  The second key to doing what we say is simply to have a heart commitment to it.  It must be important to us to accomplish what we have promised.  People and God will trust us. 

Finally, I think an important aspect of integrity is that the inside matches the outside.  It is said of David that he shepherded Israel “according to the integrity of his heart” (Psalm 78:72).  This means that when he spoke the truth to his countrymen, he really believed it; he really meant it.  To have integrity I must ask myself the tough question, “Do I really believe what I am saying?”  If unhappily I am coming up with a negative answer, what’s the remedy?  The best remedy is not to give up saying the good things coming out of my mouth, but rather to start actually believing these things in my heart.  This means I will start living by these principles I talk about.  Make decisions by them; cherish them, lean on them.  Scrap the lip service and give the truth life service.

I hope to have a well rounded integrity and be honored by God and men. I’m working on it. 

Hello everybody,

I’m Tom Dennison, kuya Tom for my Filipino friends. I am 54 years old and have been around the block a few times. At age 18 I became a follower of Christ and have tried to get closer to Him since then. That has involved a lot of studying and teaching the Bible and hopefully living it. I am still married to the beautiful lady, Sue, that I married in 1982 and have had the privilege of raising 5 daughters with her. Since 1986 we have been missionaries in the Philippines. After all those years you would think I had learned something.  Oh, I forgot, I have also made mistakes, sinned and done some things poorly. By the grace of God this has helped my learning curve as well.

In any case, I have started this blog to share things I have been learning in my life. On some things I will be quite confident I am right. That’s when I stick really close to clear biblical principles. In other cases it will be my opinion. Of course everyone is free to disagree and comment as you please. My prayer is that I can pass on some wisdom or at least some experience in spiritual matters, missions, family and some other random topics. If I make you think, that would be good too. Let the blogging begin.

Tom Dennison