May 20, 2013
Pastorgraphs: “Seven Warning Signs of Personal IDD”
It’s easy to spot lapses in integrity with the rich and famous (movie stars, politicians), and with institutions (Wall Street, clergy and military sex abuse, IRS misuse of power, etc.). Of course, we think that such appalling failure could never happen to us. There is an old proverb, “Pride goes before the fall”.
The truth is ALL lapses of integrity are PERSONAL lapses of integrity. For instance, Wall Street did not abuse its power, INDIVIDUALS who work for Wall Street firms abused their power. Yes, the institutions (financial, religious, educational, military, government) provide the framework and cover under which such abuse occurs, but it all comes down to the individuals; to you and me.
Therefore, I would like to offer Seven Warning Signs that you might be in danger of (Personal) Integrity Deficit Disorder (IDD).
Warning Sign #1: Thinking the rules do not apply to you. This is the first and most common failing on the road to disaster. It is the sin of pride, the basis of every other sin. For instance, every adulterer thinks he or she will never be found out. Every Ponzi scheme starts with the illusion that they will be able to repay old investors with new money. Rationalizing that you can break the rules, or that the rules are for other (weaker) people is arrogant, and will ultimately end in destruction. And more often than not, it will not just hurt you, but your family, your company, and potentially an entire industry or institution. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7)
Warning Sign #2: Acting differently at home or work or when no one is looking. When you are one person at work, another at home, and yet another when you are alone, you are living the very opposite of integrity. That is being a hypocrite. Integrity comes from the same word as integer, meaning wholeness, completeness, and oneness; not fragmented living. A person with integrity does not play games with themselves or others.
Warning Sign #3: Cutting corners. This is the failing of being irresponsible and unreliable. Every major disaster from the space shuttle explosion to the Gulf oil disaster can be traced to someone failing to do their full and complete job. A person of integrity does not procrastinate or fail to do excellent work. Integrity puts first things first and demands that we do our very best at all times. Bad habits and bad motives are signs of poor character.
Warning Sign #4: Making compromises with your principles. The person who compromises with their beliefs, values, principles and ideals are easily corruptible. That does not mean all compromises are evil. But when you use compromise to get around something you know is right and good, you have destroyed your integrity.
Warning Sign #5: Bending the truth. Honesty is the most common synonym for integrity. But integrity is more than mere honesty. Telling little white lies, or withholding the complete truth so that others will draw the wrong conclusion is a recipe of hypocrisy. It does not mean we must be brutally honest with everyone we meet, but when bending the truth is tantamount to lying, it IS lying.
Warning Sign #6: Failing to keep promises and commitments. A person of integrity is trustworthy. Losing someone’s trust is one of the most devastating experiences in life. Whether it is your spouse, your boss, or your best friend, failing to keep promises and commitments will quickly destroy integrity.
Warning Sign #7: Accepting second best. Integrity requires excellence in both our expectations and performance. Life is too short to simply accept second best. William Carey, the great English Baptist missionary once said, “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.” “Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might”. (Ecclesiastes 9:10)
Blessed Pentecost, Pastor Bill
From the Quote Garden:
“Many of us believe that wrongs aren't wrong if it's done by nice people like ourselves.”
~ Author Unknown ~
Christ United Methodist Ministry Center
“Christ in the Heart of San Diego”
3295 Meade Avenue - San Diego, CA 92116 - (619) 284-9205