Friday, February 24, 2017

Integrity and Fellowship

Chuckle: Passenger: “Are you sure this train stops at San Francisco?” Conductor: “If it doesn’t, you will hear an awful splash!”
Quote: “There is no such thing as a minor lapse of integrity.” --Thomas J. Peters

"People with integrity have firm footing, but those who follow the crooked paths will slip and fall" (Proverbs 10:9 NLT). "This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another" (I John 3:11 NIV).
Our fellowship with one another as Christians is based largely on integrity in our relationships. It is based on mutual trust and confidence. It is based on kindness, fairness, understanding, and absolute honesty in all circumstances.
Fellowship is more than enjoying a meal, a cup of coffee, or exchanging pleasantries. It's even more than expressing our love for each other. Fellowship involves genuine concern for each other -- a willingness to bear each others' burdens/problems -- placing the needs of others above your own -- a heart-to-heart connection born out of mutual love and respect.
Our words. Integrity is much more than not telling a lie. Malicious or thoughtless application of truth can be equally devastating to a personal relationship and fellowship. You see, integrity is based on the intent of the heart. We should hurt when others hurt instead of taking some sort of twisted pleasure in revealing the flaws of others, even when they are true. "I know, my God, that you examine our hearts and rejoice when you find integrity there" (I Chronicles 29:17 NLT).
Our actions. Another compromise of one's integrity, which destroys fellowship, is saying one thing but doing another. Jesus said, "Simply let your 'yes' be 'yes,' and your 'no' be 'no'" (Matthew 5:37 NIV). He is saying, "let your words be trusted." "Don't say one thing and do something else." "When you make a promise, follow through on that promise." For a Christian, a promise should become a sacred obligation.
Our Responsibility: Fellowship is strengthened between those who accept responsibility for their actions, and do not blame others for their shortcomings. Today, we call this "passing the buck." It seems we must find some one or some thing that is responsible for our shortcomings rather than ourselves. Children blame their parents; parents blame school teachers; churches blame their pastors, etc. God holds each of us responsible for our thoughts, words, and actions. Why do we have so much difficulty holding ourselves responsible. . . .?
“Try as hard as you like, but in the end only the language of the heart can ever reach another heart while mere words, as they slip from your tongue, don’t get past your listener’s ear.” –St Frances de Sales 
Have a great day as you practice integrity with fellow believers!
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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