Integrity In Your Bones

skeleton-in-the-closet

Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out. –proverbs 10:9

Want to freak yourself out?  Next time you’re in a crowd, remind yourself that you are in a room full of skeletons.

It’s not something we tend to think of when we look at each other, but just a couple inches beneath each person’s surface lies a collection of bones.  Boo!  Here lies the object of infinite Halloween frights, and the symbol of all things unmentionably hidden.

One does not put one’s bones on display.  Not the ones inside our bodies, or the ones we’ve stuffed into our closets.  They’re private. These bones represent our collection of indiscretions, our taboo secrets, our hidden sins.

With all these skeletons in our closets (and inches beneath our skin), how could a single one of us walk with integrity?  Politicians throw that word around, but managing integrity is a rare feat.   It doesn’t seem like our elected officials have much integrity these days, although they are masters at appearing like it.

They’re not the only ones.  Many people today avoid the church because Christians seem so proficient at integrity — until greed, or abuse, or all manners of non Christ-like behaviors reveal us to be as “boney” as everybody else.

The #MeToo movement is a perfect example of the state of integrity — pulling back the curtain on decades of hidden harassment and demeaning behavior.  I’ve surely hated to see the pitiful contents of some of my favorite public figure’s closets. I’m cautious at pointing a finger, however, because I’d just as soon no one ever peek in my closet.

How about you? Anything to hide?

So, shy of, say, the Dalai Lama, is there anyone with integrity left in this cursed world? Are we all doomed, as proverbs mentions, to walk crooked paths until the day God and humanity discovers what lies beneath each of our feeble attempts to appear good?

No.  We’re not doomed.  Jesus came to save us from the evil that has settled into our very bones.  When Jesus died on that cross, the earthquake that filled the land cleaned out every closet and gave us the ability to walk with our heads held high.  Not with some mock piety, but with the assurance of grace.  We’re not perfect.  Just forgiven.

I wonder if integrity can grow even through our attempt to find it.  Maybe so.  Instead of hiding away the frail remnants of our past, our bones can be made strong in Christ. Stronger than a tanker truck of milk ever could.

The next time you’re in a crowd, don’t freak out about all the skeletons surrounding you.  It’s part of human nature to carry a few sins with us as we go through life.

But strive (with God’s help) for integrity.  It comes when we make room for grace, in our bodies, minds, spirits..

and closets.

Have a great week,

Mitch

dry-bones-title

 

HEY BOZO, WATCH OUT!

  The evil are ensnared by the transgression of their lips,
but the righteous escape from trouble.   –Proverbs 12:13

Would you like to hear something silly?

When I’m walking across a parking lot, I’ll find myself annoyed at the drivers.  They don’t watch where they’re going.  They pull out too far into the intersection.  They roll through stop signs and don’t yield the right of way.  In my mind I’m saying HEY BOZO, WATCH OUT!

And then, I get in my car, and switch sides.   Now, I’m a driver, and I find myself annoyed at the pedestrians.  They think they can just walk anywhere they want.   They talk on their cellphones and don’t pay attention.   They’re moving too slowly.  Again, I think, HEY BOZO, WATCH OUT!

I have this terrible fear that someday I won’t be paying any attention, and I’ll run into myself.

Badum bum.

I’m a complainer.   Not a championship complainer, I don’t think, but I’ve been known to mutter, to sigh, and to eye roll.  As I think about my traffic dilemma, above, I realize that I’ve become an equal opportunity complainer.   I apparently don’t care what side I’m on.  I just want to….”Mitch” about it, if you know what I mean.

If you’re like me, it’s just kind of a bad habit.  A go-to state of mind we might not even be fully aware of.   And I understand that.   Life is filled with minor discomforts, sidetracks, and conflicts.   It’s hard not to have a constant track of irritation running through your head.  But God clearly wants more for us than that.

In the book of Proverbs, we are presented with all kinds of wise statements–little selections of words to live by.   The passage above is one of a bunch cautioning us to use our words wisely, and to keep tabs on our anger.

So how do we do that?  Here are a couple suggestions:

Look Both Ways When we blunder through life, we’re more likely to crash into somebody else.  Take time to live deliberately and carefully.

Yield  Instead of pretending we have all the answers, we can yield to God, and follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

Relay, Not A Race Life is not meant to be a competition or a race.   Think of it as a relay, instead.  Love gets passed from one to another.

The next time I find myself in traffic — on foot or in my car — I’m gonna be paying attention to the words in my head.   HEY BOZO, WATCH OUT! may not seem that harmful, but the truth is I’m the one acting like a clown.   If I try instead to live “righteously”, as the writer of this proverb suggests, I’m more likely to enjoy my journey.

And if that doesn’t work…

I’ll take the bus.

Have a great week,

Mitch

originally posted in 2011