There was a time in our country that you could take a person “at their word.” It is a saying that has been lost in our current times. It reminds us there we desire relationships with people we can trust. A person of integrity is a person that we can trust. They are a person that would follow through on their commitments even when it hurt. It seems as if we live in an age of doing or saying whatever it takes to get what we want. Yet, we are reminded by God’s Word that integrity does matter for the follower of Jesus Christ. So, my question is this, “What is your word worth?”
It is important for us to consider the worth of being a person of our word; of being the person that others can depend on. The reason why integrity is so important is because it produces trust. It is often overlooked that trust is the glue that holds relationships together. This trust is based on a person’s character… Are they a person of integrity.
We have all seen studies and articles that remind us that people will tend to lie if they think they can get away with it. Now, this is the opposite of Biblical integrity. A while back I watched a video (The Truth about Lying) by a researcher that studied, above all things, why people lie. He devised a test that has helped him understand why we lie. The test involved solving math problems that by themselves were extremely easy to solve. The challenge of the test was the number of problems that needed to be solved. There was not enough allotted time to solve all the problems. Now, when the test time was complete the participants would self-grade their work. The participants were paid certain dollar amounts based on their results. The way it worked is the students would run their test sheets through a shredder before they reported their results which determined their stipend for participating in the study.
What the students did not know was the shredder was modified to only shred the outside of each sheet leaving their actual work intact. The researchers were able to compare the actual results with the results claimed by the participants. What they discovered is that most people “fudged” the results a bit. They always gave themselves a better score than they had earned. They also discovered that the vast majority would not claim a perfect score. They knew they were not perfect.
It has been said that character is who you are when no one is watching. I shared the above account to remind us that all of us are prone to “fudging” the results to make ourselves look better. Yet, the Bible calls Jesus followers to be different from others. I am reminded of the words of Solomon in Proverbs 22:1 “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.” What Solomon is referring to is our reputation or integrity. And his statement is answering our question, what is my reputation worth? The simple response is everything. Here he reminds us that there is no tangible benefit that is worth more than who we are in the eyes of others.
The reason why your reputation is so valuable is because it reflects our trustworthiness. It will influence every relationship in your life. A good reputation will open doors. A good reputation will help in resolving misunderstanding. A good reputation will draw friends. A good reputation will bring repeat customers. You see a person with a good reputation will not only realize human equity but also financial prosperity by being a person that others can trust! And this also opens a door to sharing the message of Jesus with others. The message of a person of integrity can be trusted! The question to ask ourselves is, “Am I Person of My Word?”
-Pastor Joseph Parkinson