The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him. Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.” David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! 6He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”
Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! …"
2 Samuel 12:1-7
Thursday I received a message that dug into the depths of who I am. For several years now, I have been praying to be a woman of integrity. I am thankful for this season of reflection and unlearning and growth so I can really take note of what God wants to show me. As it relates to integrity, the lesson was two-fold: it really helped me to look at my relationship failures and to look at myself with the magnifying glass to acknowledge how I have fallen short in this area.
I learned that integrity is more than just giving the cashier back the extra money she accidentally gave you. When you think of callous and evil people we often think of people who cause wars or victimize children and women. Yet, we don’t think about the men and women behind the Enron scandal or Bernie Madoff. We don’t think about our slick-tongued politicians or even some people purporting to be our pastors for that matter. But God does.
I realized today that I am proud of the progress I have made in becoming a woman of integrity but I still have some improving to do in this area. I specifically remember situations where I have padded difficult truths with white lies (I was thee queen of telling a guy I had a boyfriend because I wasn’t interested — if you went to school in the AUC it seemed like the only way a man wouldn’t call you out of your name or get unnecessarily aggressive with you), or avoided telling someone something they needed to hear altogether (like: you have a victim mentality and I don’t wanna listen to your problems anymore or leave me alone, your prying is getting on my nerves), which caused me more hurt. I have been on the receiving end too, like people telling me they would do something and then not showing up, or being lied to about being cheated on, or one of my favorites, being called a hypocrite behind my back but smiling in my face. As I went through the questions in "The People Factor," I could really see how God has protected me by removing certain people from my life. (Honestly, the tidbit I’ve shared here does not do this chapter any justice at all…or the entire book for that matter.) I can also see how those relationships were doomed to failure from the start because the people involved, myself in particular, did not demand integrity.
The author shares the story of David and Bathsheba and the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. These are two of the greatest offenses that God personally addressed. Here, with David, He spoke through Nathan the prophet and with Adam and Eve He spoke directly to them.
As I think today, if God spoke directly to me about my own offenses, would He be pleased? Would He be pleased with you?
It makes me think about the parable of the talents. If God can trust you with a little, then He can trust you with a lot. I want God to be able to trust me with allll that He has stored up for me. Fortunately, I am grateful to see the changes He has made in me, especially my growth in the area of integrity. He has made me more comfortable having difficult conversations, and He has given me strength to accept those hard truths (about myself and others) and put on my grown lady undies to actually address those situations. I trust God to get me where He wants me so that I can ultimately be the woman He called me to be. I suggest you read The People Factor if you’re ready for an honest look at yourself and to evaluate you and your relationships. I’m grateful to say that God has me on the right track.
At the end of the day, let God make you a man or woman of integrity. Don’t miss out on God’s best by settling for less than you can give. Don’t sit on the sidelines to your life while others take from you. You do have a choice. Choose to reflect Jesus to the world as you begin (or continue) your walk of living with and in integrity.
There was a man in the country of Uz named Job. He was a man of perfect integrity, who feared God and turned away from evil. Job 1:1