Parenting is one of the toughest jobs I’ve ever had. Deciding how and when to explain certain life lessons is challenging, to say the very least. My husband and I have always had family values; we put God first, we serve, we love, we are honest, we are generous; these are just a few we’ve tried very hard to instill into our children. But as hard as we are trying the enemy is always lurking…trying to undermine our efforts. Our 10 year old recently attempted to be dishonest with us. Thankfully, it was nothing big (completing her homework assignments in a timely manner) but it was dishonesty nonetheless. See, we don’t have a scale of dishonesty in our home…dishonesty is dishonesty and it is not something we tolerate.
This experience with our daughter got me thinking…we, as children of God, have a set of values that God has given us to live our lives by. Do we carry them? Do others see them in us? Do we represent the family of God well? I have to admit I was a little intimated by this thought. To do this, we must be people of integrity. Integrity is the state of being whole and undivided; moral uprightness. Integrity doesn’t mean to be perfect or without fault. But again, it means you are undivided…you are certain of your values and everyday you do everything in your power to live in such a way that you bring honor and glory to God in all that you do.
When explaining honesty and integrity to our daughter, I asked, “What would we see if Mommy or Daddy popped in unexpectedly to visit you at school? Would you be doing what the teacher was asking of you?” Then I thought, what if others peeked in on our life…would they see God glorified in our home, in our conversations with each other, in our checkbook, in our down time, etc.? I remember there was a time in my life that would NOT have been the case. But integrity is just that…it is who you are in private. Because who you are in private IS who you are…that IS your character.
Greg Salciccioli wrote a great book entitled “The Enemies of Excellence: 7 Reasons Why We Sabotage Success.” I highly recommend everyone read this book, but especially if you are leading others…it’s a MUST read. It is basically a handbook on how to guard your integrity and explains how and why to keep healthy accountability in your life. In it, Salciccioli identifies 7 warning signs/enemies that can negatively impact your integrity and ultimately your life and leadership. They are:
- Egotism – “I know best.”
- Life Mismanagement – “I’ll get to it later.”
- Bad Habits – “What harm could it do?”
- Indulgence – “I just can’t help myself.”
- Broken Relationships – “I don’t really need people.”
- Isolation – “I can do it on my own.”
- Self-Sabotage – “It’s not my fault.”
These enemies start small but build one on another eventually leading to the damage of your integrity. The very sad part is in life, if you sacrifice your integrity, you forfeit your influence. Once your influence is gone, your leadership is non-existent. This means your leadership as a parent, a friend, a leader or manager, an employee…everything. Where there is no integrity, there is no respect or trust. Integrity is everything and it takes just a few bad decisions to ruin but years, at the least, to rebuild. Guard your heart, put healthy accountability in your life and make up your mind to be a person of integrity in all areas of your life.