Monday, December 1, 2014

Wishful Thinking and Integrity

Chuckle:  “Inflation is growing,” a young man said to a friend. “Yesterday, in a restaurant, I ordered a twenty-five dollar steak and told them to put it on my credit card — and it fit.” 
Quote:  “Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never be content with a half truth when the whole truth can be won.”  --COL. C. E. Wheat
    People with integrity have firm footing, but those who follow crooked paths will slip and fall”  (Proverbs 10:9 NLT).  The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity”  (Proverbs 11:3 NIV).
Words defining integrity often include honesty, truthfulness, uprightness, honorable, probity, etc.  These essential traits are certainly present in a person of integrity.  However, I believe integrity, in its broadest definition, also includes other critical traits.  Our passage says the integrity of the upright guides them.  This makes sense when we look at other meanings of integrity.  It also means completeness or wholeness – a complete person not lacking in any component of integrity – an undivided or unbroken state – tried and proven. 
Todays’ quote is from the West Point Cadet’s Prayer.  As you read it carefully, I’m sure you will notice that the prayer asks God for strength to display other essential character traits not normally included in a common definition of integrity.  These include discernment of right and wrong, the ability to make wise decisions, courage in the face of physical danger, intolerance of mediocrity, and a hunger for the whole truth.  Now that we have identified the character traits in a person of complete integrity, listen to the following by General Omar N. Bradley, who, in 1949, became the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The Cadet’s Prayer contains a warning of two of the worst pitfalls into which men – beset by events – can fall: the loose, wishful thinking that causes some people to hide themselves from the facts (reality); and the willingness to compromise principles for expedient gain.
Wishful thinking is the easy and smoothly paved road to compromise.  Knowing that the right road is also the harder one, we have an all-too-human tendency to choose the easier way.  And, of course, the justification for our choice becomes a simple task.  For we have great powers of rationalization when it comes to proving to ourselves that we have made either a “reasonable” or “practical” choice.  (Parentheses mine)
It is futile for us, as Christians, to waste time in wishful thinking – wishing that things were different in our society and the world.  Instead, we should fall on our knees before God confessing and repenting of our sins and calling on Him to “make us choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never be content with a half truth when the whole truth can be won.”  Each of us should strive to be a person of complete integrity as the Holy Spirit empowers us, and allow that integrity to guide us to make right harder choices, not just the easier reasonable or practical choices.
Love, Jerry & Dotse    



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