There will always be decisions you have to make based on situations you face. Having integrity of heart – wholeness in following God’s call on our lives – helps you make the right decisions and take actions that align with Jesus teaching.
Take a moment and read the account of Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz in the Bible (Book of Ruth). Talk about a fork in the road! You and your family move to another country, then your husband dies. Not long after that, your two sons also die and you are left with two widowed daughters-in-law. So you pack up and move back to your homeland, and you encourage your daughters-in-law to return to their country since they would have no hope of marrying again if they stayed with you. One returns and the other—Ruth—chooses to stay with you. Ruth, in essence, says, “Even it if it costs me my future, I will do the right thing—I will not leave you”. How hard it must have been for Ruth to leave her homeland, go to a strange country, and follow a God she did not know. But because of the testimony of Naomi’s integrity of heart, Ruth did so.
Boaz also had a choice. He had heard all that Ruth had done for Naomi, and he praised her for it. Boaz was a redeemer—a close member of the family who, in that culture, could marry and redeem (or save) Ruth. But there was a closer relative who could have redeemed Ruth, so Boaz went to him and offered both Ruth and the land Naomi was selling. When that relative would not risk his own inheritance by redeeming Ruth and the land, Boaz became the redeemer.
Boaz called Ruth a woman of character and eventually married her. Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz led with integrity of heart. They knew God and did what was right in His eyes. Ruth was rewarded for her faith and integrity, as God placed her in the genealogy of Jesus Christ.
What integrity fork in the road are you facing today? How will you lead with integrity of heart?
*excerpt from The Dichotomy of Power, by Nancy Reece
* originally written for www.LeadLikeJesus.com/blogs
Integrity is the quality people most want to see in a leader – someone who walks the talk.. The opposite of integrity is hypocrisy. When we make poor choices at integrity forks in the road, the word hypocrite becomes a clanging bell in our mind and soul. Hypocrisy is one of six perceptions of the church today by the secular world (Barna Research: UnChristian) because we have often failed to walk our talk. In Matthew Jesus scolded the Pharisees for saying one thing and doing another. They were the leaders of the Jewish people, and yet eight times in this one chapter Jesus says, Woe to you, hypocrites…and then points out to them their two faced behavior as leaders. The Pharisees weren’t living up to the level of integrity that Jesus expected of them as leaders. We call them ‘character gaps’ in our leadership – when we behave in ways that do not make Jesus proud. It’s clear that a hypocrite is unqualified to lead others – to higher character or to success.
Before we point a finger at the Pharisees, we need to look in the mirror as leaders. When we claim to be a follower of Jesus, we make a statement that we will have integrity by leading like Jesus. We will balance grace and truth by holding others accountable, we will serve rather than be served, and we will have “ an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.” (Luke 8:15) We will exhibit His Heart, His Hands, His Head and His Habits. And we will constantly look for hypocrisy in our words and actions, ask for forgiveness, and look to Jesus as our leadership role model. A person of integrtiy isn’t perfect, but that person can be depended on to make amends when he or she has lacked integrity in their words and actions.
In what areas of your life are you saying one thing and doing another?
*originally written for and posted on www.LeadLikeJesus.com/blog
If you will walk before me, as your father David walked, with integrity of heart…I Kings 9:4a
What does integrity of the heart look like when we lead? It can easily be seen in those whose life, actions, calendar and priorities reflect their values. Jesus demonstrated this so beautifully in Luke 4. He spent a long day teaching in the synagogue, escaping from an angry crowd who wanted to throw him off a cliff, rebuking demons, and healing Peter’s mother. He needed rest and so he went off to a quiet place. But the people found him, pleading that he continue to heal and teach. At this point, I know my ‘people pleasing’ side would have kicked in and I’d have stuck around to heal and care for them – it’s important work after all. But Jesus didn’t. He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities, also, for I was sent for this purpose.” (Luke 4:43) – He had integrity of heart, stayed true to the purpose God had given him, and set his priorities accordingly.
David made many bad choices as king, choices which did not align with God’s purpose for his life. But David always made the choice to confess and return to God. He lead with integrity most of his life. I’ve experienced the same thing – when I make a bad choice, it’s critical to that I confess, ask for forgiveness, and realign with my faith and values. We’re all human – and we’ll all fail. Realignment is the key.
In virtually every survey by Kouzes and Posner, authors of the Leadership Challenge, over the last 20 years on leadership, integrity was identified more frequently than any other trait as being most desired in a leader. If we are to lead, we must have integrity of heart, stay true to the purpose God has given us and set our priorities accordingly.
Do your priorities align with your God given purpose? *Written and posted in June for Lead Like Jesus blog – www.LeadLikeJesus.com