Truth and Integrity

Truth and integrity lie very close to one another. In the absence of what is true, all that remains are power and manipulation. What takes the place once occupied by truth are private agendas, community ideals, rhetorical force, savage ad hominem attacks, fabrications, exaggerations, and power seeking. In the absence of truth, lying becomes the common coin of the realm. And this lying takes on especially virulent forms when it becomes religious. For then God is pressed into service for personal advantage. The stage is then set for terrible things to happen. We understand the dark side of this connection.

On the positive side, this connection between truth and integrity shows itself in that kind of ethical consistency that binds the whole of an individual’s life together. To know God is to know him in every facet of our being. It is to know him in our mind, heart, and emotional life, in our private world at home and in our public world, in worship, in Christian service, in the arena of ideas, in the conflict of worldviews, in the competition between religions. Because it is the same God whom we know in each of these ways, through the same truth that he has given us, a person of integrity will be the same person in all these arenas. The point about hypocrisy is that a person is different in different contexts. The person creates a post, or an image, to gain some advantage with some audience. The person and the pose, however are two different things. The point about integrity is that a person is the same, even when audiences may not be pleased and when there is, as a result, some cost to pay.

David Wells, The Courage to Be Protestant, (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2008) page 95.

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