As we think about integrity, we define it as “wholeness; as soundness all the way through.” When Jesus healed people, the scripture often says that “he made them whole.” As Chelsea mentioned in our LifePrep discussion, “Integrity is being the same in public and in private.” As followers of Jesus, we want our children to walk with God in a real way. For that to happen, we can’t just point the way, we must lead. We must walk with God first.
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children.(Deuteronomy 6:5-7)
Deuteronomy means “second law.” This is because Moses was giving the law for the second time, this time to the second generation. The older generation had perished in the desert because they had been disobedient to the law God had given them at Mount Sinai. Now their adult children were at the border to the promised land forty years later. Moses was impressing on the adults that loving God themselves was the key to teaching their children to love God.
It just makes sense. If we don’t love God, our children won’t either. Our example makes the greatest impression.
Our words and hearts and actions are to be one. That’s integrity, soundness, wholeness.
On the other hand, integrity does not mean that we do everything right. That’s perfection and we are not perfect. Therefore, integrity would include admitting that we are not perfect. We all have flaws and weaknesses that trip us.
I remember one discipline episode with Jean-Luc, one of our sons. He would not admit his guilt. I knew he was guilty, but he was stubbornly resistant to my correction. For me, it was frustrating that he would not admit the obvious. A few days later, God’s Spirit convicted me that Jean had learned his stubbornness from me, because I had trouble admitting my own sin. The following scripture reminded me that Jean and I were both part of sinful humanity.
Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. (Galatians 6:1)
We were both in need of the same solution, the death of Christ on our behalf. As I recognized that he and I shared a common weakness, I was able to approach him in a way that opened his heart to admit his own guilt. The result became confession, forgiveness, cleansing, restoration.
We are examples to our children, not the standard. God’s commands are the standards that call us all, parents and children, to the high mark of Christ.
As parents, let us love God, all the while admitting our human weakness. He dwells with the lowly and broken of heart. Surprisingly, that is a key part of integrity for followers of Jesus.