As you are well aware, we're in an election season. The races are tight. Talk to a handful of people and you'll get a handful of opinions on candidates and their character.
Frankly, nobody I talk to seems to know for sure who to vote for this year because the candidates appear to be less than forthright about who they are or what they believe.
Scandals abound on both sides of the political aisle. No political party has the corner on the integrity market, that's for sure. It's hard to know who's telling the truth anymore.
And it's disheartening, isn't it? It's wearying, trying to sift through all of the propaganda and spin to get to the truth of what each person is saying.
What really happened?
What does he or she really believe?
What will they really do once they get into office?
Wouldn't it be so much easier if people just told the truth?
But they don't. Plain and simple, that's the society we live in today. People do not think that their integrity matters.
Funny thing is, when the rare person steps forward who actually does tell the truth, someone who lives by the principle of honesty and integrity in all things, that person becomes noticed. For good or for bad, the light of truth shines forth.
Parents, let me say this as clearly as I can: start now to build integrity into your child. Teach them to tell the truth, no matter what.
Because integrity matters, especially today when it's such a rarity in our world.
I see at least three reasons to build integrity into our kids:
1. Their relationship with God will benefit.
In His word, God tells us over and over again to be people who tell the truth. He commands it, in fact. And He does this for our benefit so that there is nothing between Himself and us, His children. Our reputation before a holy God is at stake.
2. Their relationship with others will benefit.
God also commands us to be truthful so that we will have positive and productive relationships with others. In his commentary on Proverbs 12:22 ("The Lord detests lying lips, but He delights in those who tell the truth." NLT), Matthew Henry notes that lying is "destructive to human society." When we base our relationships on anything other than complete honesty, we are responsible, in part, in the degradation of our community, and society as a whole suffers from it. People who tell the truth are people who can be trusted.
3. The gospel of Christ will benefit.
I think this is the most important reason to build integrity into our kids--the cause of Christ. The more we live in this world as lights, the more different we become to those who are in darkness. People take notice when we choose to tell the truth, to take the high road, to be people who refuse to compromise our values.
And when a Christian messes up? You've seen it in the headlines, shouted from the rooftops, heralded in the evening news. The name of Jesus is dragged through the mud and it's pretty ugly.
How Can We Start?
I said this in my earlier post: insist on truthfulness every time. Do not even allow "little white lies" to become a habit with your kids. Explain to them the importance of being truthful--it matters in their relationship with God, others, and the watching world.
And one more thing: check yourself. Do you, Mom or Dad, have a problem with lying? It's so easy to fall into. Do you expect complete and utter truthfulness from yourself? Do those little white lies trip off your tongue easily? Know that your kids notice this too. If we don't expect the most from ourselves, how can we expect it from our kids?
The truth matters in our world today. Being people of integrity matters. When we choose to tell the truth, people know they can trust us and the light of Jesus shines even brighter.