Have you ever had someone back out on you in the last minutes? It could be on your appointment or an event, or it could be covering a responsibility. No matter what the circumstances, you know the frustration. You may have verbally communicated that everything was OK, but normally on the inside you are a little frustrated. This is a great illustration of a fickle person. One online dictionary defines fickle person as someone who changes frequently, especially as regards one’s loyalties, interests, or affection. So I am asking you to ask yourself, “Am I fickle?”
The antidote to fickleness is integrity. This past week in our, “Life Lessons” series I was challenged by the integrity of our Savior. A person of integrity, is a person that can be trusted, where as a fickle person cannot be trusted. I was reminded of the need for the followers of Jesus to be people of integrity. This fact was brought home in the account of the woman caught in adultery. Maybe you are aware of the account found in John 8:1-11. A woman caught in the act of adultery is brought to Jesus by a group of Scribes and Pharisees. They claim to be seeking Jesus’ direction on whether they should stone her according to Old Testament Law or let her go. It might seem like an honest request on the surface, but it was not because the religious leaders lacked integrity.
If there would be anyone you can trust, it should be a person claiming to follow the true God. Yet, these men have drifted from their high moral position to acting like those that do not know Jesus. Let me share three characteristics of a religious person lacking integrity. First, they twist the facts. The text is very clear that the woman was caught in the act of adultery. Yet this is not a sin a person does alone. Adultery is a sexual relationship by a married person with someone other than their spouse. So where was the guy? Now, maybe he was able to get away, and not get caught? Maybe the woman was victimized by the parties that caught them, blaming her? Or maybe, as some wonder, was the woman being used as a tool to bring down Jesus? You see, if Jesus OK’s the stoning, he is breaking Roman Civil Law and if He does not advocate stoning, He is denying the Mosaic Law. We learn that these religious men were trying to trap Jesus.
Second, not only did these men play fast and loose with the facts, but also twisted the Bible. They used a Bible verse to try to manipulate and trap Jesus. So they are really doing this with sinful intentions. Their desire was not for holiness but for selfish purposes. It reminds me of the passage where Jesus taught to take the log out of your own eye before you attempt to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. I never cease to be shocked by religious people’s lack of compassion with those in sin. The goal is not to destroy those that have fallen, but deliver them. Yes, we must be accountable and confront one another, but we must do it in a compassionate way. It is sad when we have to twist Scripture while ignoring our obedience to God’s Word.
Third, a person that lacks integrity uses manipulation to achieve their desired outcome. These guys didn’t share all the facts, twisted the Scripture and tried to badger Jesus to give them an answer and were willing to use this woman for their own ends. All of this lacks integrity and does not promote trust. So who would you trust, Jesus or the religious leaders? If you chose Jesus, it is because of the lack of integrity of these religious people.
So, let’s go back to where we began. Are you a person, like Jesus, that others can trust? It could be in keeping commitments, honoring our word, telling all the pertinent facts, and even honestly handling Scripture and applying it to your life first. If you do, you are not a fickle person, but a person of integrity.
-Pastor Joe Parkinson