Confessing My Lack Of Integrity And Praying To Change

Confessing Our Sins Together

Confessing My Lack Of Integrity And Praying To Change

In a chapter on confession and communion in Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes that “he who is alone with his sin is utterly alone. . . . But it is the grace of the gospel, which is so hard for the pious to understand, that confronts us with the truth and says: You are a sinner, a great, desperate sinner; now come as the sinner you are, to the God who loves you.”

I’m sure that most of us agree with Bonhoeffer that the confession of sin, grounded in the gospel, is a vital component of our personal spirituality. But we get a little uncomfortable when it comes to corporate dimensions of confession.

It’s not too threatening to engage in silent confession when the liturgy calls us to do so in the weekend service, but when it comes to times of confession in small-group settings, we often settle for less-indicting statements “I’m struggling with . . .

” Even then, we have the gnawing sense that our vague, toothless non-confessions aren’t fulfilling the exhortation of James 5:16, “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed.”

Three Reasons We Avoid Confession

Our failure to engage in the corporate dimension of confession stems from at least three possible sources.

1. What Will They Think?

The first is a disconnect between our so-called public and private lives.

We fear what people may think of us if we really told them our secret thoughts, our implacable greed (not simply monetary), our censorious spirit, our constant irritability.

Wouldn’t they second-guess our every action? Wouldn’t we lose their respect? Failure to confess sin to others is, in essence, a failure of integrity.

2. Whom Do We Fear?

And this is intimately connected to the second source — a misplaced fear. Tragically, we more greatly fear those with whom we have sin in common than the one whose very presence is the splendor of holiness.

He knows precisely and intimately (and with perfect clarity) all the dimensions of our sinful hearts (Psalm 44:20–21; Proverbs 21:2; Luke 16:14–15). From him we cannot hide (Jeremiah 23:24).

Isn’t it a prick of insanity that we fear those who could do nothing more than shame us rather than the one before whom we will one day appear and the secrets of our hearts will be disclosed (Luke 12:45, 8:17; Romans 14:10)?

3. What Is Confession?

Both the first and the second sources are linked to a third — a deficient understanding of what confession is and does. Confession is not optional for Christians.

John asserts that the mark of genuine fellowship with God is not only the recognition of one’s proneness to sin (1 John 1:8) but also corresponding confession (1 John 1:9).

And, as we’ve already seen, it is expected in corporate life, according to James 5:16.

Why We Confess

For Christians, confession of sin, ultimately, is application of the gospel.

Authentic confession of sin is a mingling of humble contrition before God, faith-filled appropriation of the grace of reconciliation, and heartfelt gratitude for the satisfaction that has been accomplished in the cross of Christ.

“The Christian way,” writes Martin Luther, “essentially consists in acknowledging ourselves to be sinners and in praying for grace” (Luther’s Large Catechism).

Confession of our sin before God also acknowledges our very real need for his sanctifying grace — for though we are manifestly set apart as God’s own children (1 Corinthians 6:11), we still sin (see Colossians 3:1–11). Thus, confession is part of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. That’s why Bonhoeffer says that “confession is discipleship” (115).

Jesus teaches us that regular confession should be a vital part of our fellowship with God (Luke 11:4), especially in the context of secret prayer (Matthew 6:6). The Scriptures also provide us numerous models for expressing genuine contrition over sin (Psalms 51 and 130).

By exhortation (James 5:16) and example (Acts 5:1–11), we are warned against a hardness that avoids confession (1 John 1:8) or a deadly pride that seeks its public exercise (Matthew 6:1–18; especially Luke 18:9–14).

Most of all, the Scriptures remind us that the purification and expiation that come in response to confession are grounded not in our own actions, but in the perfection of Christ’s broken body and shed blood (1 John 1:9–2:2).

Confessing in Community

Finally, the Scriptures also teach us the importance of community in dealing with our sin. Confession of sin in the presence of others is applying and celebrating the gospel, together. We are sanctified sinners who all need more grace for holiness, and we must rehearse this together.

John beautifully captures this: “My little children, I write these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:1–2).

Confession to one another celebrates the expiation of our sin and the sanctifying work of God through the cross of Christ (1 John 1:9). Confession to another Christian also guards us from absolving ourselves without true repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10). Bonhoeffer writes that God gives us certainty that we are dealing with the living God “through our brother” (116).

When we bring our sins to another Christian, they become concrete and their ugliness cannot be hid from view.

Confession, whether in secret prayer or in the presence of a caring fellow Christian, honors Christ (Galatians 6:2).

“It is fitting,” writes John Calvin, “that by the confession of our own wretchedness, we show forth the goodness and mercy of our God, among ourselves and before the whole world” (Institutes, III.IV.10).

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How Lack Of Integrity Can Affect Your Life

Confessing My Lack Of Integrity And Praying To Change

Integrity is probably at the center of my core values.

If I’m not being generous, I’m integrity. If I’m not being honest, I’m integrity. When I’m not showing compassion, I’m integrity.

Another way to look at it is if I’m integrity, I’m not in alignment with what’s important to me. And to be perfectly honest, I simply can’t function when my integrity is out. My life just doesn’t work.

Now, whether my integrity is out or not is entirely subjective. Logic doesn’t come into it and I can’t talk or justify my way feeling integrity. If I’m integrity, I KNOW I’m integrity and no amount of sophistry, understanding, justification or reasoning is going to change that.

It sounds I’m being really harsh on myself, but that’s not how it is at all. By working on getting myself back in integrity, I’m constantly moving further into alignment.

Things don’t flow when I’m integrity. Stuff doesn’t work and I feel blocked. It’s unpleasant when I’m that way. It feels I’m wading through quicksand.

Why life feels hard work

Half the time, it’s not obvious that I’m being integrity and that’s where problems happen. Because my integrity so intrinsically links with everything else, all I know is I feel sorts and things feel just not quite right.

I’ve felt that for a few days now and it’s been getting more and more difficult to achieve or complete anything. Even writing has been difficult and, trust me, I usually have no problems in writing something.

Then I realized: I’m integrity.

I gave my word to do something and it hasn’t happened. The reasons for it not happening are completely my control, but it’s still my responsibility.

My word, my responsibility. No one’s fault, just my responsibility.

I told someone I’d do something and it hasn’t happened. I’ve communicated with the person and reset the event date 4 times now. It’s still not going to happen and I’m not willing to reset the date again. My integrity is out, not just on sticking to my word but also on another of my core values: fairness.

Even though the reasons are completely my control, I don’t feel I’m being fair to the other person for constantly changing the plan. And I’m feeling awful about it.

I’m feeling awful because my integrity is out and I can’t do anything about it. The other person was very understanding, but it isn’t my fault and I’m not the only one to blame.

But, that’s not the point.

The point is that it’s MY integrity that’s out, therefore, it’s MY integrity that needs mending.

I want to feel good about myself, so I MUST take responsibility. The reason is simple.

I’m taking responsibility, regardless of the fact that not all things and people are under my control because I gave MY word that I’d do something.

Living with knowing that I can’t stand by my word is unacceptable.

I could go down the path of justification, reasonableness, and blame. After all, it’s not entirely my fault.

But, if I do that, then it’s giving the power over whether I’m true to myself and my core values to someone or something else.

I’m giving the power about how I feel about myself to someone else. It’s letting someone else have control over my life. And no one should have that power over anyone else.

Only WE know whether we’re being true to ourselves or not.

If you feel that something’s “off”, that life is hard work or just a bit icky, take a long, hard look at yourself. Find out where you’re not being responsible. No matter how ridiculous it seems or no matter how much things are completely your control, TAKE RESPONSIBILITY.

Take responsibility for knowing that you’re being true to yourself. Don’t leave it for years I’ve done in the past. Look at it NOW.

See Also: Taking Ownership: Are You Taking Full Responsibility For Your Life?

Where are YOU integrity?

I can pretty much guarantee that if life is feeling hard work for you, it’s because you’re integrity SOMEWHERE.

It might be around your values or because you feel your job isn’t the one for you. You might have given up on a dream, eating poorly or not exercising. You might be in a relationship that you know is not right for you. It might be due to all the things you’re saying in your own head.

So, have a close look and find out where you are running integrity.

Don’t waste any more time not feeling completely in the flow. Do something about it NOW.

See Also: Flow: Discovering The Secret to High Performance and Happiness

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The Importance of Integrity

Confessing My Lack Of Integrity And Praying To Change

Why cheating a little hurts a lot

Thoughts on Excellence Free E-Newsletter SeriesVolume 11, Issue No. 3

June, 2012

By Dan Coughlin

If you are serious about being a great business leader, then you need to be serious about acting with integrity. Integrity alone will not make you a great business leader, but if you act without integrity you will eventually erode your opportunity to influence other people.

In every business relationship, whether it’s with an employee, a colleague, a boss, a customer, or a supplier, the other person is asking himself or herself three questions:

Can I trust you?Can I work with you?

Can you help me achieve the results I want?

The first question is about integrity, the second question is about chemistry, and the third question is about competence. To have a great business relationship, you have to have all three. The starting point is trust.

This is just as true in business-to-business relationships as it is in business-to-consumer relationships. Integrity is the foundation of a trusting relationship.

If another person doesn’t know what they can count on from you, how will they be able to trust you?

Leadership, to me, means influencing what other people think about in ways that generate better sustainable results both for the organization and the people in it.

How can you influence the other person if the person doesn’t trust you? First, you need people to trust you. Fortunately most people will trust you until you convince them that you are not trustworthy.

However, once you lose that trust it’s very, very hard to ever regain it.

Integrity is critical in small businesses and in massive, multinational corporations. It’s the basis for maintaining relationships.

The Three Forms of Integrity

I believe there are three types of integrity: internal integrity, external integrity, and the image of integrity. All three are important if you want to be a great business leader over the long term.

Internal Integrity

I teach an eight-month long class for eighth graders every year, and my first question is, “How do you define integrity?” By far the most popular answer is, “Doing what you think is the right thing to do even when no one else is looking.” And every year I smile, nod my head, and say, “I love that definition.”

That answer gets to the heart of internal integrity.

Every time you do what you think is the right thing to do even though no one else saw you do it and you will never get credit for it from anyone else, you have taken a big step toward strengthening your internal integrity.

When this decision is really hard for you and you still do what you think is the right thing to do, you take a really big step toward strengthening your internal integrity.

Why is internal integrity so important? The first step toward getting people to trust you over the long term is for you to trust yourself.

When you know that you can count on yourself to do what you think is the right thing to do, you will move forward with greater self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-discipline. Notice each of those three terms starts with “self.” That’s you. Obviously not every day is a parade.

Not every day will you get a great new customer or deliver a great presentation, but every day you can act in a way that you know you can count on yourself. (There’s that word again.)

Internal Integrity is the first ring around the core of a trustworthy person. You might be able to fake the other two for awhile, but if you lack in internal integrity you will eventually demonstrate that lack in yourself toward other people, and they will realize they are dealing with a fake.

External Integrity

External integrity is what you show other people.

Do you walk your talk? Do you do the things you said you would do? If you told a group of people you would follow up with a difficult employee or customer situation and then you actually did it, they will trust you in future situations. However, if you don’t do what you said you would do, they will doubt you in future situations, and eventually they might get to a point where they stop trusting you completely.

Of course, there are times when you will have to do something different than what you said you would do. Circumstances can change and consequently those changes can cause you to adjust your actions.

You can still maintain your integrity even though you had to do something different than what you had promised to do.

I believe the key in those situations is to go back and explain very clearly why you had to change your plans.

External integrity affects not only your own business relationships, but it can also affect your organization’s brand. Companies make brand promises.

When individuals consistently drop the ball and don’t fulfill what their company has promised to customers and suppliers and employees, the company’s brand weakens and can eventually collapse. Bad economies can hurt a business, but bad integrity can hurt it even faster.

Maintaining high levels of integrity is not only important for the results you personally generate, but it is also important for the results of your organization.

True Integrity Integrates Internal and External Integrity

You have to have both. defines integrity as the state of being whole. To me, that means a person with true integrity has his or her internal and external integrity integrated as one solid whole.

It’s not enough to do the right thing when no else is looking, and then not do what you promised other people you would do. It’s also not enough to always demonstrate integrity when you are with other people while you have a secret life that lacks in integrity.

Those secrets have a way of coming out and then people doubt everything about you.

At this point, I considered making a list of well-known people who have had their secret lives exposed showing they were not the people others thought they were. Then I thought that’s taking the easy way out.

You and I can always point our fingers at other people and talk about their lack of integrity. However, that’s missing the point.

The key is for us to look at our lives and identify any lack of true integrity within ourselves and then work to close those gaps.

My Lack of Integrity

Recently, one of my gaps in integrity was highlighted for me. I was at a youth soccer tournament as one of the coaches and a lesson was driven home for me again: real integrity means you are the same person in public as you are in private.

Twenty-six years ago I read a book by John Wooden, the famous UCLA basketball coach, called, They Call Me Coach. In it he talked about never swearing in front of his players. He learned the value of not swearing from his father. Since then I made a strong commitment to never swearing in public.

In all these years, I think I can remember less than a dozen times where I used foul language in a business situation, as a high school teacher, as an athletic coach, or with my family. However, when I’m by myself I use really intense foul language all the time.

I think my swearing goes back to my high school and college days where hardly a sentence was ever uttered by anyone without containing words beginning with f, d, g, or s.

I avoided swearing when the games didn’t go our way that weekend or when I was discussing a play with a referee. I didn’t swear when speaking with the players or with the parents.

However, at one point during the weekend, I told my ten-year-old son, Ben, to wait in the lobby with the other players while I packed our car. When I got to the car, I realized I had left one of our suitcases in our hotel room.

Thinking I was all by myself, I said out loud, “What the (blank)? Where is my suitcase?” I turned around and I saw Ben walking toward me with another player. I thought they heard me, and I was totally embarrassed. They went into the other player’s car to get something with his mom.

They didn’t hear my foul language, but I was so upset that I went into the car and sat in the front seat for a long time even though I needed to get my luggage.

I realized I was being incongruent, one person in public and a different person in private. I heard the message loud and clear: “Either curse as loud as you can in every public gathering or don’t swear at all, but stop being a fake.” I realized right on the spot that I needed to a better job of integrating my internal integrity and my external integrity.

I realized I have to work much harder to not swear at all, even when I think I’m all by myself. For the past several weeks I’ve tried to immediately say, “Stop swearing!” whenever I use foul language when I’m by myself. Slowly, steadily, I need to replace that bad habit with a healthier one.

Where can you strengthen your integrity?

If you don’t integrate your internal and external integrity, eventually people will see your true self and wonder what else about you is not trustworthy. That can ruin your career and possibly ruin your business. Acting with integrity is very, very important.

Is there any aspect of your life that is not integrated, where you are acting with one set of values in public and a different set of values in private? That’s not a small question. That one requires some extended thinking time. If you do identify an area in your life the way I found one in my life, I encourage you to focus on it and work to integrate your internal and external integrity.

Maintaining integrity is a matter of personal responsibility, and it’s one of the most important responsibilities we have.

The Image of Integrity

Earlier in this article I said there are three forms of integrity. The first is internal integrity. The second is external integrity. The third is the image of integrity.

Knowing that other people are always asking about you, “Can I trust this person?” it’s critically important that you protect your image of integrity. Sometimes people will have their reputation as a person of integrity attacked for no reason.

Other people can make up lies and try to denigrate another person. That happens and it is awful, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.

I’m referring to what you do to protect your image of integrity, your reputation as a person of integrity. Here are two examples of how a person who has strong internal and external integrity can play with a ball of fire and ruin his or her reputation.

Imagine you are on a business trip and your direct report is of the opposite gender. You want to discuss a business situation so you decide to invite the person into your hotel room. The two of you come the room a few hours later and you’re both laughing.

However, three of your colleagues are walking down the hallway to their rooms just as the two of you are leaving your hotel room. You haven’t done anything wrong. You have acted with integrity. But now other people are wondering what is going on.

Over the next several months you have lunch and dinner with this direct report, have a few drinks, and meet again several times in a hotel room to discuss business. Even though nothing sexual has ever happened between the two of you, you are leaving your image of integrity up for grabs.

Why do that? Why risk your reputation of being a person of integrity?

Imagine you’re responsible for collecting money from your colleagues at work for a big fundraiser for a local not-for-profit organization.

So you collect thousands of dollars, you don’t keep any written account for how much each person gave you, you put all the money in your personal bank account and then you write a personal check to the not-for-profit organization. You haven’t done anything wrong.

You wrote a check for the exact amount you collected. But by mixing your personal finances with the money from people at your business, you have left other people wondering what is going on.

These stories, or variations of them, happen frequently and cause huge problems inside businesses. Why? Because people start to wonder about the person’s true level of integrity. Protect your image of integrity with the same effort that you work to strengthen your internal and external integrity.

Integrity matters. It matters a lot in the world of business. Keep that in mind as you work to build long-term effective relationships with colleagues, employees, customers, suppliers, and even competitors. Integrity is the critical element if you want to have the opportunity to be a great business leader over the long term.
To learn how to work directly with Dan Coughlin as an Executive Coach, click here.

Learn about The Seminars on Excellence.

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Top 12 reasons why people resist change – Understanding reactions to change

Confessing My Lack Of Integrity And Praying To Change

Expecting resistance to change and planning for it from the start of your change management progamme will allow you to effectively manage objections.

Understanding the most common reasons people object to change gives you the opportunity to plan your change strategy to address these factors.

It’s not possible to be aware of all sources of resistance to change. Expecting that there will be resistance to change and being prepared to manage it is a proactive step. Recognizing behaviors that indicate possible resistance will raise awareness of the need to address the concerns.

Classic psychological reactions to change

At the end of the day all sources of resistance to change need to be acknowledged and people’s emotions validated.

It’s far better to anticipate objections than to spend your time putting out fires, and knowing how to overcome resistance to change is a vital part of any change management plan.

Top 12 typical reasons for resistance to change

  1. Misunderstanding about the need for change/when the reason for the change is unclear — If staff do not understand the need for change you can expect resistance.

    Especially from those who strongly believe the current way of doing things works well…and has done for twenty years!

  2. Fear of the unknown — One of the most common reasons for resistance is fear of the unknown.

    People will only take active steps toward the unknown if they genuinely believe – and perhaps more importantly, feel – that the risks of standing still are greater than those of moving forward in a new direction

  3. Lack of competence — This is a fear people will seldom admit.

    But sometimes, change in organizations necessitates changes in skills, and some people will feel that they won’t be able to make the transition very well

  4. Connected to the old way — If you ask people in an organization to do things in a new way, as rational as that new way may seem to you, you will be setting yourself up against all that hard wiring, all those emotional connections to those who taught your audience the old way – and that’s not trivial
  5. Low trust — When people don’t believe that they, or the company, can competently manage the change there is ly to be resistance
  6. Temporary fad — When people belief that the change initiative is a temporary fad
  7. Not being consulted — If people are allowed to be part of the change there is less resistance. People to know what’s going on, especially if their jobs may be affected. Informed employees tend to have higher levels of job satisfaction than uninformed employees
  8. Poor communication — It’s self evident isn’t it? When it comes to change management there’s no such thing as too much communication
  9. Changes to routines — When we talk about comfort zones we’re really referring to routines. We love them. They make us secure. So there’s bound to be resistance whenever change requires us to do things differently
  10. Exhaustion/Saturation — Don’t mistake compliance for acceptance. People who are overwhelmed by continuous change resign themselves to it and go along with the flow. You have them in body, but you do not have their hearts. Motivation is low
  11. Change in the status quo — Resistance can also stem from perceptions of the change that people hold. For example, people who feel they’ll be worse off at the end of the change are unly to give it their full support. Similarly, if people believe the change favours another group/department/person there may be (unspoken) anger and resentment
  12. Benefits and rewards — When the benefits and rewards for making the change are not seen as adequate for the trouble involved

Expecting resistance to change and planning for it from the start of your change management progamme will allow you to effectively manage objections. Not dealing proactively is one pitfall – but there are many other common mistakes.

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The essence of integrity

When Lot lost his family, livelihood, and health, his wife foolishly told him to give up his integrity: curse God and die. He rebuked her by remembering the good things God had given him. (Job 2).

The 2 most important concepts of integrity are: truth and honesty. If you cultivate these in your life and make them part of the fabric of your being, you will never lose your integrity.

  •  Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure  (Philippians 4:8)
  •  Speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more Christ  (Ephesians 4:15)

Prayers and wisdom about integrity, honesty, and faithfulness

The prayers and songs of the Psalms and the wise sayings of the Proverbs speak a lot of integrity, honesty, and faithfulness…

  • Who may worship in your sanctuary, LORD? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? Those who despise flagrant sinners, and honor the faithful followers of the LORD, and keep their promises even when it hurts. (Proverbs 15:1,4)
  • Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies. (Psalms 24:3-4)
  • Integrity and honesty will protect me because I wait for you. (Psalm 25:21)
  • The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. (Psalm 34:15)
  • In my integrity You uphold me and set me in Your presence forever. (Psalm 41:12)
  • Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: (Proverbs 3:3)
  • People with integrity walk safely, but those who follow crooked paths will slip and fall. (Proverbs 10:9)
  • Integrity guides decent people, but hypocrisy leads treacherous people to ruin. (Proverbs 11:3)
  • The godly are directed by honesty; the wicked fall beneath their load of sin. (Proverbs 11:5)
  • The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth. (Proverbs 12:22)
  • The righteous hate falsehood, but the wicked bring shame and disgrace. (Proverbs 13:5)
  • Righteousness guards the man of integrity, but wickedness undermines the sinner. (Proverbs 13:6)
  • Unfailing love and faithfulness make atonement for sin. By fearing the LORD, people avoid evil. (Proverbs 16:6)
  • The LORD wants weights and measures to be honest and every sale to be fair. (Proverbs 16:11)
  • A king will remain in power as long as his rule is honest, just, and fair. (Proverbs 20:28)
  • He who walks with integrity will be delivered, but whoever is perverse in his ways will suddenly fall. (Proverbs 28:18)
  • Do not curse the king even in your thoughts, or curse the rich even in your bedroom, for a bird of the sky may carry your words, and a winged creature may report your speech. (Ecclesiastes 10:20)

Be careful what you promise, and keep your promise

  • Don’t make rash promises (Ecclesiastes 5:2)
  • Make sure to keep your promise (Ecclesiastes 5:4-7)
  • When you make a vow to God you must do it (Numbers 30:2-4)
  • Don’t be slow to pay it—God will judge sin (Deuteronomy 23:21-23)
  • Jesus said, don’t make an oath you can’t keep, just say yes or no (Matthew 5:33-36)
  • Keep your promise even when it hurts (Psalm 15:4)

The importance of truth and honesty

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)

  • But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. (2 Corinthians 4:2)
  • Whoever covers over his sins does not prosper. Whoever confesses and abandons them receives compassion. (Proverbs 28:13)
  • If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
  • Then I acknowledged my sin to You and did not hide my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah (Psalm 32:5)
  • There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the housetops. (Matthew 10:26-27; Luke 12:2-3)

Because God will judge

Habakkuk expresses the same complaint as all of us. Why does God seem to tolerate sinners? God’s answer is particularly unsatisfying until he reminds him that God is sovereign and will judge wickedness at the appointed time. Habakkuk needed to rest in 2 things.

  • The just shall live by faith (Habakkuk 2:1-4), which is the same revelation that moved Martin Luther to understand the nature of God’s grace.
  • Remember all the wonderful works of God; they assure us that God will act at the right time (Habakkuk 3:1-16)

This is the same thing that Peter expressed to the Jews of the dispersion who were being persecuted in the early church…

  • If God did not spare angels when they sinned, did not spare the ancient world, condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, he will hold the unrighteous for punishment (2 Peter 2:4-9)
  • I want you to remember what the holy prophets said long ago (2 Peter 3:2)
  • They deliberately forget that God created the earth, that he destroyed the ancient world in the flood, and that he is waiting for the day of judgement (2 Peter 3:5-7)

Featured image integration-welcome-shaking-hands-1777537 by geralt

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5 Ways to Strengthen Your Integrity

Confessing My Lack Of Integrity And Praying To Change

For some people, disappointing others is a regular occurrence, and apologizing—for running late, for being behind schedule on the project, for forgetting to do the thing they said they would—has become a recurring theme. They have become desensitized to the pain causing someone’s disappointment and are able to rattle off an “I’m sorry” in a way that doesn’t carry any real remorse.

I know because I was this person. And I had all the excuses, too: I was too busy, I was overwhelmed, things came up, I had no time, I needed more sleep. I used these excuses to avoid the real reason. And that reason was ultimately that I lacked integrity. Until a point in my life when I realized how much I was hurting the people closest to me.

It was time for a change.

Related: 3 Tips to Open Your Heart, Mind and Life to Change

My life is currently busier than ever, but by focusing on developing my integrity and addressing my personal areas of weakness, I’ve been able to better serve the people in my life who I once regularly let down.

The following steps are what allowed me to step up, stop repeating the same mistakes and build my integrity.

1. Be hard on yourself.

If you’ve arrived at a place where you know you need to radically improve yourself because you’ve caused others pain—and are in pain yourself as a result—then you have a great opportunity to get leverage on yourself. This means using the mind’s unconscious but powerful system of motivation that causes us to move away from anything that causes us emotional or physical pain.

By not dodging the pain of your failure but instead allowing yourself to feel it fully and associate it with the behaviors you wish to change, you are programming your subconscious to find a better way, to avoid making the same mistakes.

And with enough programming, it will find a way.

Take some time to reflect on where you have let yourself or others down without the excuse-making you used to rely on to avoid this pain, and then resolve to improve.

2. Apologize the right way.

Just as you must stop yourself from using the past pattern of excuse-making when trying to create leverage against yourself, this is even more important if you have someone to apologize to.

An “I’m sorry, but…” is not a true apology. A real apology is simply and honestly, “I’m sorry.”

Another important part of an apology is to avoid promising the other person that you’ll give them the world to make up for the mistake. If you resolve to show them more respect by being true to your word, then avoid using too many words.

Related: How to Make the Most of Your Mistakes

3. Stop overpromising.

If you lack integrity, one of your defining characteristics is overpromising and under-delivering. And you simply have to stop doing it.

Take note of every time you make promises that are hard to keep and analyze why you need to please people all the time. Practice saying no to things you know you will have difficulty completing. This isn’t about setting boundaries with other people so much as setting boundaries with yourself.

4. Strengthen your decision-making power.

Your personal integrity is defined by the power of your decisions. By power, I mean the capacity to keep the decision you’ve made in the forefront of your mind and keep it a priority. Practice making decisions with the end in mind. Start small.

When you remember that recycling needs to be delivered today, resolve to do that as soon as you get through the door. Then stick to it. Check your emails at a predetermined time and then close your laptop. Set reminders for things. The important part of this isn’t setting the reminder but resolving that when that alarm goes off, you will drop whatever you are doing and do it right then.

5. Develop a routine.

If you struggle to be on time and often find yourself scrambling to finish projects by deadline, you’re weakening your integrity. Time mismanagement causes a vicious cycle of letting people down and failing to stay true to your word. Your ability to maintain a routine tells people you can be trusted.

The best place to start is at the beginning of your day. If you can start your day the same way, then you begin to develop positive habits that will spill over into the rest of your life.

Here are some tips for using your morning to strengthen your integrity:

  • Blast yourself with cold water at the end of your shower. It jolts your mind and nerves awake and gets you ready for the day.
  • Consume at least one large glass of water and eat a healthy breakfast. You’ll need fuel to keep up your energy and productivity throughout the day.
  • Practice gratitude. Take just five minutes to meditate on or list things you are grateful for. It’s an incredibly powerful way to align you with what’s important to you. These thoughts are then reflected in your actions.

So if you want to step up and become a person who people can rely on and you want to stop letting others down, then well done. Just that intent alone is admirable.

Now follow these steps and start living in a way that you can be proud of and positively affects the lives of those you love.

Related: 9 Tips to Help You Strengthen Your Integrity

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