Many of you know that I have twin 13-year-old boys. They are tall and relatively coordinated. They have played a bunch sports since they were old enough to walk, but have never been on a select/elite team of any kind. That doesn’t stop them from having fun and giving it everything they’ve got. This being said, they are finishing up a basketball season during which they have won absolutely no games…not one victory.
They had asked us to find them a rec team earlier this year and we were directed to a “competetive” team in the league that needed two tall players. We thought it would be a good fit. One of my sons was excited to play and the other, just lukewarm about basketball in general…but you’d never be able to tell.
They get out on that court and they put forth effort no matter if the score is close or if they’re playing against kids from their own school or if there is no way they could possibly pull out a win. You’d never be able to tell.
What you could tell is that they have integrity to do their job. They show up to practice. They encourage their teammates. They help other players up off of the floor when they’ve fallen. They have the drive to put forth effort for their team to play a fair game as well as they can. They make an effort to pass the ball well, to give others a chance to score, to start anew each play no matter what the score is: victory or defeat.
I recently read an article about integrity. The author says it’s defined as “a concept of consistency of actions, values, [methods, measure,] principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness [or accuracy] of ones actions.”
She goes on to explain that “integrity stems from the Latin word ‘integer’ which means whole and complete.”
To be whole, and complete…to make our actions consistent with who we want to be…how we want people to see us. That can be a difficult task. We don’t always have “good days” and thing don’t always turn out the way we want them to. Sometimes our path is really difficult. Sometimes you might be on a basketball team that lost every game during the season.
Integrity, though, is showing up, being honest, being true, trying again…loving when it is difficult, forgiving when it’s hard, believing when it seems impossible.
Integrity in our faith journey is all of those things. How many times are we asked to try again, when things seem futile? How many times are we asked to show up when we don’t want to? How many times are we asked to love when it is difficult? How many times does our God ask us to trust Him?
Our God is a God of wholeness…a God who shows up and fills gaps, a God of completeness. He brings our actions and our words into wholeness when they are consistent with Love. He makes our efforts worth something bigger than us.
When we make our words and actions consistent with the love He taught us to bear, there is wholeness, consistency, forgiveness, belief, love………and that is integrity.
My boys play on that court with integrity, and they still don’t win all of the games (or any of them this season), but life is so much more than just the numbers on a scoreboard. Our God asks for that kind of consistency, the kind of actions and values and principles that point towards His Glory…the glory in which He calls us to share, for His son already gained us that victory!
Wrap it up:
One of my favorite quotes is a call to integrity by Mother Teresa:
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered; forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; be happy anyway.
They good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; do good anyway.
Give the world the best you’ve got and it may never be enough; give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis it is between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway.