I went to the dentist the other day to get a cavity filled. As I sat in the dentist chair waiting for him to come, I asked myself what was my excuse for canceling those two previous appointments at the last minute. Life is just crazy and I am just so busy. You would not believe how many important things I am doing. I pray twenty-six hours a day. I am so spiritual and that is tough. I have to meet everybody’s needs and put their needs ahead of my own, so my excuse is that I am a pastor doing spiritual things. Then I thought, wait a minute, I am not going to lie. So when he came in I said, I am so sorry for canceling the last two appointments at the last minute. He was so nice. He just smiled and said, it happens to the best of us. When I left I thought, you know, I did not really tell the truth. The Holy Spirit kind of convicted me because if I really told the gut level, honest truth I would have said: Hey, sorry for canceling those last two appointments at the last minute. It is just because I am pathetic and cannot get control of my schedule, my life is spinning completely out of control. I do not value your time at all because my time is so much more important. It wasn’t the traffic or a problem or that I am so busy. No. It was my fault. That is really the bottom line. If we could be that honest, it would be so much better. And by the way, that was so cathartic. It felt so good to admit that.
“Let our lives lovingly express the truth in all things speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly.” Ephesians 4:15.
Integrity requires speaking the truth. Integrity means not hiding from the tough issues and sweeping them under the carpet. You see, if you love someone you will share the truth. The more you love, the less you lie. Many times we lie because, at the deepest level, we do not care about what is really important. We know by speaking the truth, it will cause some conflict. We care more about avoiding the emotional pain that conflict can cause than reaching a resolution based on truth. You have got to work through that conflict to have a deeper, closer relationship. When two imperfect and completely different people start sharing the truth, there is going to be some conflict; but once you work through that, you arrive at intimacy. But it is hard work. A lot of times we want forgiveness and we want grace, but we are not willing to admit the truth and acknowledge how desperate and broken we are. We are always to be truthful, and we are to speak the truth in love so that we can become mature in Christ, the way He intends.