This is a topic I’ve actually wanted to write about for a little while now. My parents really pushed to instill integrity in each of their children. Part of integrity is keeping your promises. But then, I think there’s more than just keeping promises because you can very easily avoid actually promising to do things. It has more to do with keeping your word.
If I say that I’ll do something, regardless of whether the specific words “I promise” leave my mouth, I should do it. It should hold the same weight as if I swore on the life of my family… okay, maybe not that far but you get it.
We all know/knew those people. The ones who would say they’re free this weekend, of course we can hang out! Then 2 hours before you’re supposed to meet up they text you and say that they’re going to a movie with someone else, so sorry, forgot about our plans and said yes without thinking, we can hang out next weekend. Well, why are you willing to break plans with me because you “forgot” but you couldn’t just break plans with the other person? It’s probably because I was just a standby plan until something they actually wanted to do came along.
Now, I understand extenuating circumstances. If I have long-standing plans with someone but then one of their relatives unexpectedly comes to town or an emergency crops up then I get it. There are things outside your control that can disrupt plans. But when I have long-standing plans with someone to hang out at my house and they cancel because someone else invited them to see a movie then I get a little bit upset.
Actually I don’t get upset, I just get disappointed. When I was younger and this happened to me, I would think there must be something wrong with me. Maybe I wasn’t interesting or fun enough to be first choice. Maybe they didn’t think our friendship was important. Now when this happens I’m know that I don’t have to be disappointed in myself but in the other person’s lack of integrity. It’s not my problem. Well it’s sort of my problem because now I don’t have plans and have to be lonely thinking about what I could have planned instead of trying to hang out with someone who obviously thought I was just a backup to more exciting things anyway and probably isn’t even thinking about me and won’t think about me again until they’re done having a great time with other people and now they want to have a mediocre time with someone as boring as me.
Clearly this gets to me sometimes.
The beginning of Psalm 15 asks, “LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle?” Then it goes through some expected behavior/traits of Christians: he who works righteousness, speaks the truth, does no evil to his neighbor, etc. The one that really grabs my attention is “He who swears to his own hurt and does not change.” To me, this is the epitome of integrity. When you say you will do something, when you tell someone you’ll be there for them, when you say you’ll be available, when you say you’ll vacuum the living room before bed, when you say you’ll feed the dog, etc. etc. etc. Do it even if when the time comes, it’s going to be really inconvenient. Like, yeah, I SAID I would clean the kitchen after work but then I had to stay an extra two hours because someone else didn’t do their job so now I don’t have time to clean the kitchen. No. You said you would do it after work and it’s after work. So do it. But, I won’t have time to watch the episode of my favorite tv show tonight and Mark will spoil it for me tomorrow!
Too bad. This is what it looks like to keep your word. This is integrity, this is what the Psalmist was talking about. It might seem trivial to apply this to things like letting the dog out or cleaning the kitchen but if you don’t have integrity in the small things then how can someone believe you’ll have integrity in the big things?
I’m not perfect. I don’t keep my word all the time either because I make mistakes. But this is something that I really do work on. I do my absolute best to follow through on what I say, even if doing that is going to be detrimental for me because that’s part of what integrity looks like.
**I’m adding a little section at the end of each post to let you know what I’m reading (as per my new year resolutions) so that it not only motivates me to keep reading but also to keep me accountable**
Currently Reading: Mogworld by Yahtzee Croshaw