Summary: Living a life of integrity is more than just talking the right things. It requires that we do the right things too. Our actions must match our words. This is integrity.
7-29-07 Albion Church
Series: The ABC’s of Christian Living
Lesson: Integrity- The Ability
Good morning! Great to come back home and worship with family!
We are continuing our series on The ABC’s of Christian Living.
This morning we come to a topic which is very hard to listen to and even harder to preach. But I implore you to listen and more than that-to respond!
I want to start by sharing with you a few stories that deal with our topic of integrity.
Bystander Effect- Lawrence S. Wrightsman
What a sharp contrast with a scene that occurred on a New York street nearly two decades before. Kitty Genovese was slowly and brutally stabbed to death. At least thirty-eight of her neighbors witnessed the attack and heard her screams. In the course of the 90-minute episode, her attacker was actually frightened away, then he returned to finish her off. Yet not once during that period did any neighbor assist her, or even telephone the police.
The implications of this tragic event shocked America, and it stimulated two young psychologists, Darly and Latane, to study the conditions under which people are or are not willing to help others in an emergency. In essence, they concluded that responsibility is diffused.
The more people present in an emergency situation, the less likely it is that any one of them will offer help. This is popularly called the “bystander effect.”
In the actual experiment, when one bystander was present, 85 percent offered help. When two were present, 62 percent offered help. When five were present, then it decreased to 31 percent.
As professional golfer Ray Floyd was getting ready to tap in a routine 9-inch putt, he saw the ball move ever so slightly. According to the rule book, if the ball moves in this way the golfer must take a penalty stroke. Yet consider the situation. Floyd was among the leaders in a tournament offering a top prize of $108,000. To acknowledge that the ball had moved could mean he would lose his chance for big money.
Writer David Holahan describes as follows what others might have done: “The athlete ducks his head and flails wildly with his hands, as if being attacked by a killer bee; next, he steps back from the ball, rubbing his eye for a phantom speck of dust, all the while scanning his playing partners and the gallery for any sign that the ball’s movement has been detected by others. If the coast is clear, he taps the ball in for his par.
Ray Floyd, however, didn’t do that. He assessed himself a penalty stroke and wound up with a bogey on the hole.
After surveying thousands of people across the world, and after over 400 case studies, 2 psychologists identified those traits most desired in a leader. In virtually every study, HONESTY and INTEGRITY were mentioned more than every other trait.
It does make sense doesn’t it? If someone is going to follow a leader, they want someone that can be trusted-someone who will keep their promise and follow through with their commitments.
II. EXAMPLE OF INTEGRITY
(I Sam.12:1-4) Israel’s demand for a leader with integrity should come as no surprise.
After leading Israel for decades he makes a strong promise to repay anyone he has cheated. What an amazing promise-but more amazing than that is the response of the people-there is no wrongs to right, no dishonest dealings to make right.
People want leaders to be honest and to have integrity. They want to know that promises and commitments mean something to the one who makes them.
Today we talk about commitment but when life changes or becomes hard, we change the rules and allow commitments and promises to be broken.
But God tells us how important our word (promises) are.
Throughout the Word, we find God making promises and keeping His promises. God is trustworthy! He says what He means, and means what He says.
It always boils down to this-Character. It’s not about what we say but how we act on what we say.
Biblical Integrity is not just about doing right-it’s about having the right heart and then matching that on the outside by how we live our lives!
A good word to think of is “consistency”. There must be consistency between the inside and outside.
God is completely consistent. What He does always matches His character and nature.
Our goal should be the same. Christ desires His disciples to be disciplined- doing the right thing, the right way, and for the right reason.
III. GOD NEVER CHANGES
Because God is this way, we should desire this for ourselves too.
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN LET DOWN?
Is there really any one we can trust? People let us down again and again because what we believe and how we live are not always the same (remember integrity is the balance between the two!)