There is a crisis of integrity in our culture. You don’t have to look too far to see a politicians lying to his constituents, a CEO misrepresenting her company’s profitability, or an employee fudging his hours worked on a time card. It happens all around us—everything from cheating a store that gives too much change to encouraging a friend to do something dishonest to lying to a person in a position of authority.
Sadly, the lack of integrity is not just relegated to people who are blatantly dishonest and worldly. There is also a crisis of integrity among people who claim to be Christians, and certainly there can be a lack of integrity in Christian marriages.
Integrity is an essential part of any godly, healthy relationship. If you cannot trust your mate, you cannot communicate effectively, resolve conflict, share intimacy, grow spiritually, or otherwise progress as a couple.
Secrets and lies that can compromise integrity in a marriage can range from manipulating money (secret credit cards, undisclosed debt, secretly keeping back part of a paycheck), to hidden addictions (shopaholic, pornography, alcohol and/or drugs), to being flirtatious with a co-worker, to a full blown affair (emotional or physical), to any number of other deceptions.
Someone will be quick to say, "I know better than anyone how imperfect and sinful I am. After all, we all mess up at various times; sometimes in small ways and sometimes in big ways. Isn’t that what forgiveness and grace and mercy are all about? Can anyone truly be a person of integrity?" Certainly, these are legitimate questions. What is the balance between being a person of integrity and being human?
I know this is not a perfect illustration, but for me integrity is like a crème-filled donut. When you squeeze it, what comes out? You see, integrity is not evidenced by perfection. If it is, then no one can ever hope to be a person of integrity. Instead, integrity is evidenced by consistency; the way you normally are and the way you respond when pressure is applied. When you squeeze the donut, you know what is going to come out. It is your default setting—what you gravitate to because of who you are.
And it goes without saying that what comes out of you is a direct result of what you put in. What are you filling your life with? Things that lead you to integrity in your marriage, or things that drive a wedge between you and your spouse? How we live out our integrity day-to-day says something to our spouses. If you are willing to lie to your boss, how truthful are you going to be with me? If you are selfish in your relationship with your co-workers, should I expect you will be anything other than selfish with me? If you let yourself be controlled by anger over someone cutting you off in traffic, should I expect you to explode when I do something you don’t like? You get the point.
If you are a person of integrity, do everything within your power to hold on to that. If you are lacking in integrity, re-center your life and your marriage on Christ and begin building the trust that will make your marriage last a lifetime. We all make mistakes. We all hurt our spouses at one time or another. We all need forgiveness and grace and mercy freely bestowed. But what’s inside you? What comes out when you get squeezed?
What does God want from my marriage?
A Weekend Marriage Enrichment Retreat
Friday-Sunday, September 13-15, 2013
Fall Creek Falls State Park Inn
Limited to 25 couples
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info
If you are in the Rutherford/ Davidson/ Wilson County, TN area and are looking for a great marriage small group, A Blessed Promise will meet every Wednesday night in August, September, and October at 7 p.m. at the Smyrna Church of Christ. This class will help couples see their marriage as a wonderful and unique participation in the Kingdom of God. As couples study God’s Word they will see how His love, grace, forgiveness, and mercy are lived and taught within the context of marriage, and how a Christian couple’s marriage can be one of the most powerful witnesses of Christ to those around them. The class will be made up of several discussion-based small groups with people who are either already married or looking toward marriage. (Childcare for all ages will be provided through the Wednesday night Bible class program.)