Bible Verse: “All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:37)

Scripture Reading: Matthew 23:1-39

In Scripture, over and over again, Jesus spoke about integrity. In fact, it was one of His major criticisms of the Pharisees. The Pharisees were obsessed with the law. They scoured the complex Hebrew traditions, searching for loopholes and technicalities to exploit. They loved the law, not because it was from God, but because they could use it to control others. Jesus directly confronted the Pharisees’ attempts to finesse and manipulate the law. He called them out on this behaviour (Matthew 23:16-18).

The Pharisees were saying if you swore by the temple or altar, your oath was not binding, but if you swore by the gold of the temple or the gift on the altar, then it was binding. God detests this kind of pickiness. Jesus tells them to just be honest and mean what you say. Have integrity, be who you truly are. Don’t justify weaseling out of commitments by technical loopholes. He tells them to stand by their word: if you say ‘yes’, then mean yes. If you say ‘no’, then stand by it.

Jesus calls us to complete honesty and sincerity. If we are going to express the Life of God, we must become more and more honest. This is the process of spiritual growth. This is the transition to perfection.

Living in integrity means that your actions are aligned with your knowledge. It means that you live out the things you know are right. But here is where we have a problem: we are human. We don’t always do what we know we should. We fail and fall short. How can we maintain integrity when we do not always do what we should? God has provided us a way. In order to maintain integrity when we fail, He tells us to be honest in our faults and acknowledge them to God and those around us. Living in integrity requires us to freely confess our sins to God and others.

With openness and honesty, we confess our failures to God and ask for forgiveness. Like the tax-collector in Jesus’ parable, we say “God, I have sinned, be merciful to me.” Likewise, we are open and honest with those around us. Rather than hiding our mistakes and trying to maintain a faultless image we are to be honest about our struggles. You can maintain your integrity with God and others when you freely confess to them where you are wrong.

Integrity is living up to all that you know and, when failing to do so, freely confessing to God and others where you fall short.

— Ken Miles in Is There More To Life Thank Living? © 2016 Joshua Gordon Bookworks. Used by permission.

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