We were in a beautiful lodge by the Caribbean Sea last week for some time of prayer and reflection. At the reception area of the lodge, guests are greeted by this “Thank you for not smoking” sign. The owner also gave strict orders for us not to smoke in the bedrooms. Of course, we dutifully complied.
However, almost every time I went to the reception area, I saw the owner smoking a Marlboro. I wonder how good she is in enforcing her “No Smoking” rule since she is its primary violator.
The point of this article is not about not smoking. It is about integrity. If we expect or demand that others abide by some rule, we must be the first to obey it. Here are a few questions that help reinforce my point.
Well then, if you teach others, why don’t you teach yourself? You tell others not to steal, but do you steal? You say it is wrong to commit adultery, but do you commit adultery? You condemn idolatry, but do you use items stolen from pagan temples? (Romans 2:21, 22 NLT)
Tagalog-speaking Filipinos have a saying–“Ang maling gawain ng isang matanda ay nagiging tama sa mata ng bata.” Literal translation: “a wrong act done by an adult becomes right in the eyes of a child.” This is like saying to someone: “Don’t do as I do; do as I say.” Where’s the integrity in that, right?
Living a purposeful life means striving to live it with integrity. One way to do that is to choose to be governed by God-honoring rules. Obey these rules, according to his love and grace.
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