Integrity and Success

At times, in our rush to accomplish a certain thing, integrity can be our biggest short-term obstacle to accomplishing said project.  A lie, misrepresentation, a mistruth, hidden information, or an inappropriate maneuver can easily get us past our final barriers on the road to short-term success.

At times, in our rush to accomplish a certain thing, integrity short-cuts can be our biggest long-term obstacle to accomplish our life mission.  A lie, misrepresentation, a mistruth, hidden information, or an inappropriate maneuver can easily shipwreck us in the open seas on the route to long-term mission success.

  • Do you have integrity blind spots?
  • Are you prone to taking a short-term win even if it means you have to compromise your Biblical ethic?
  • How do you correct a past of short-term gambles so you can enjoy the long-term benefits of godly integrity?
  • Are you willing to take the short-term losses to maintain integrity and sustain long-term victory?
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8 Responses

  1. Found the blog by accident but glad I did. Awesome! Two operative remarks in your statement caught my attention. “Rush to accomplish” and “integrity short-cuts”. When dealing with integrity one must be careful not to rush into anything. Quick decisions made out of fear, lack of patience, etc. are the inclusive dynamics of an integrity break down. Ted Engstrom once wrote that when you dress integrity up in every day work clothes and send into the market place it is “doing what you said you would do.” Short cuts to doing what we said we would do can another path to integrity melt down. Calvary itself was a short term loss to a long term gain. Jesus did what He said He would do even through the pain of short term loss. It would do us well to learn this valuable leadership lesson from the Master. Thanks.

  2. Tim,

    Speechless. Thank you for the challenging words…I feel a bit exposed after that.

    Thanks again and welcome!

  3. Great post.
    Integrity is the one thing we cannot afford to lose – not only as ministers, but as husbands and fathers as well. I think of Billy Graham, and how he always went out of his way to protect his integrity. And I think of the world in which we live today – a world very skeptical of Christianity, Church, and Ministers. Our integrity is what will win or lose our opportunity to share the life-changing gospel with this generation.

  4. Integrity is a sacred trust. Jesus Himself was entrusted with a mission. He fulfilled His task. Through personal trial, persecution, defamation and ridicule He managed to maintain integrity. For so many of us in denominational relationship this issue has been betrayed. Again, I use Ted Engstrom’s definition of integrity…”doing what we said we would do.” We can put something in print, make promises from pulpits, inspire thousands across the nation and world…and lose the same crowds that took so long to establish with the loss of integrity. This, in a nutshell is the botto line struggle to denominationalism and the percieved leadership it provides. If we are not going to do what we declare in print or in spoken word – we need to recommit ourselves to the process of repentance, reconciliation and denominational renewal. It is not merely the world and the great cloud of witnesses we have to prove ourselves to – it is our denominational soldiers. Once integrity has been breached there must be a rebuilding process engage in to restore trust which is the cornerstone of integrity.
    Thanks for a blog where we can voice opinions without the threat of being accused of associating with other venues called “ecclesiastical porn.”

  5. Tim,

    Great thoughts. When you post here, you can rest assured that I am not an advocate of ecclesiastical porn…more like the National Review of the COG. 😉 A true conservative think tank.

  6. If I had an integrity blindspot would I know about it? Or would I be blind to it? Also is it possible to have a nonbiblical ethic?

  7. Challenging and vital post, Travis!

    Our Christian faith, and subsequently our ministry, is a journey with God and is not simply about achieving. In fact, one of the most sobering scriptures for ministers is that MANY will say to Jesus one day, “Did we not prophesy IN YOUR NAME and cast out demons IN YOUR NAME and perform many miracles IN YOUR NAME?” Then these heart-rending words in response from the lips of our Lord, “I don’t know you, get away from me- you who break God’s laws.”

    Breaking God’s laws to accomplish “God’s work”- nothing has been more painful to observe as a younger minister than this. I remember getting ready to head back to the mission’s field to work under a national leader (who has since left the Church of God) who I knew to be operating like this. I asked God how I could possibly knowing take my family into that situation and He answered, “Do it for the joy.” I couldn’t see any joy to sustain me until He took me to this verse, “Looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the Cross, despising its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the Father.”

    “Short-term loss to achieve long term gain”- Jesus is our ultimate example, as Tim points out so well- not only in “getting there,” but also in “getting through.” We don’t get through by gritting our teeth, we endure whatever cross is involved by focusing on the vision God has provided- the joy of its fulfillment then sustains us now.

    Learning to live in that joy empowered us to go back and start the Bible college under extremely toxic conditions AND helped us to pass up the “short cuts” along the way.

    Yes, I know I’ve slipped into “preaching mode”- got some down time visiting a pastor friend before preaching this weekend so I’m peppering this blog. Once again, thanks to Tom and Travis for providing a forum for respectful, stimulating dialogue.

    There are some “observers” of this blog who need to jump in, share your heart, and write your name down- even if you disagree. Concerned ministers should use every honorable medium to connect and address the issues confronting our church. I’ve decided to do this regardless of what the conclusions people draw. I will sit down to lunch with the General Overseer and other leaders if I have the opportunity and share my heart- and ignore the side glances and assumptions. I will post in a forum like this with the same attitude. This is no time for pandering to other’s expectations and keeping up appearances. It is time for courageous, honorable engagement with sincerity and openness of heart. Self-preservation is the WRONG response- safety for all of us is found in finding the way forward and counting the cost together.

    Blessings in Christ

  8. I appreciate all of the contributions to this thread opened by Travis. I am enriched by all of your comments. I have no doubt that this issue is at the very heart of so much that troubles us. We all want to be men of integrity and to be part of a system that demonstrates integrity.
    Tim, I agree with Ted Engstrom’s definition that integrity is simply doing what you said you would do. This indeed should be a basic commitment made by every Christian, and every leader. You would think it should come so naturally as to be automatic. The reality, in my judgment, is that it will not happen in our lives–much less in the lives of those we serve–without considerable focus.
    Jonathan & Travis mentioned that it takes courage, honesty and accountability to be leaders of integrity. I agree. I would also add discipline, communication and friendship. Most of us have an incredible penchant for self-deception or ‘blind spots.’ Without a support group or persons in our lives that we allow to speak the “truth in love” to us we will get so busy with the mission that we assume that everyone is on board with our vision. We may not even realize we have missed the mark or that what we thought we said was not what people heard. I should probably illustrate.
    Some time ago I was moderating a meeting with a group of leaders that I work with. At the conclusion of the meeting we rehearsed what we discussed and I left the meeting feeling very elated about the outcome and what we purposed to do. A coworker and friend of mine was in attendance at the meeting and asked me about something I said. I quickly replied that he misunderstood. He loved me enough to press the issue however and I mentally revisited what I said. Still unconvinced I called another one of the attendees and asked her perception of what I had said at the meeting. She too revealed that my communication had been faulty. I quickly arranged a conference call to clarify MY ERROR. Had my friend not loved me enough to confront I would have unwittingly been guilty—at least in their eyes—of a serious breach of integrity no matter how well-intentioned or clear I was in my own mind.

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