Has anyone ever questioned your integrity? Integrity means being the same on the inside as on the outside. Our daily life – our attitude, behavior and thoughts – should match our prayer life. Next time you pray, listen to yourself and compare it to your conversations with others or to the self-talk in your head.
I heard a story recently about a man I'll call Tim. At 40 he had promoted quickly, reaching an executive level position within his company in record time. Tim attributes his success to his faithfulness to God and to his relentless prayer life.
As a new leader within his organization, Tim encouraged his team to share compliments, grievances, and ideas for change. He established an "open door policy," which also equated to an "open heart policy" - and sometimes an "open to absorbing large amounts of pain" policy.
Tim recognized the importance of building trust with his employees. He felt the best way to earn their confidence was to show up as transparent and open to feedback. Little did Tim know the type of feedback he would soon receive.
A short time after Tim assumed his position, the company's second-in-command retired. Tim was responsible for hiring his new chief operating officer. The candidates were all internal. Tim assembled an interview panel of executives to evaluate the employees who were now competing against each other for the promotion. After considering the panel's input, Tim ultimately chose his chief operating officer based on character and ability rather than seniority or experience.
After notifying the person who got the job, Tim met with the candidates who didn't make the cut. One of those individuals wondered why he didn't get the job and asked how he could improve his skills and abilities to earn the promotion next time. Nothing wrong with that. Tim suggested the employee seek out opportunities to gain additional supervisory experience and leadership roles.
As he worked to build solidarity among his newly assembled team, Tim noticed this same man was consistently the lone dissenting, negative voice. He was the one who seemed to lead the "water cooler talk" and the "meetings after the meetings." One day, the man entered Tim's office and accused Tim outright of lying during the interview process for the chief operating officer position.
How do you think Tim responded? How do you react when someone attacks your integrity or character?
As moral mirrors, we were created to think God's thoughts and speak God's words. As Christians, we know we are in the presence of God when we pray, but the fact is we are always standing before God. Even in the moments when we are criticized, attacked or condemned, God is present.
Tim had previously encouraged his team to communicate their ideas, compliments, and grievances - the good, the bad and the ugly. In this case, Tim was faced with something quite ugly; his employee had questioned a core facet of his identity, of being a person of extreme honesty.
If I showed you a banana and asked you to identify it, you would tell me, "It's a banana." If I peeled the banana and asked you again to identify the fruit, you would tell me, "It's a banana." As a Christian, your internal beliefs and convictions should be apparent to those around you and reflected in your behavior, your actions, and your words. When it is difficult to demonstrate grace and understanding, do you have the capacity to reflect God's moral character? Remember what God told the Israelites in Leviticus 11:45: "You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy."
So how did Tim respond to his ugly scenario? He apologized to the man. He said he was sorry for his contribution in the employee's incorrect assessment that he'd been dishonest, and then reinforced that integrity was one of his highest values and he would never lie. The man left the office unconvinced, but Tim had done what he could.
God designed us to love as He loves, to forgive as He forgives, to show patience as He is patient, and to encourage as He is encouraging. Never is this more difficult than when you are under attack. But these moments often reveal your true character and provide an opportunity for the most significant breakthroughs with people in your life.