The Christian community has been rocked in recent weeks (months, years) with the revelation of several people who profess Christianity yet have acted in the most un-Christlike ways. Almost all of these have been caught up in some form of sexual sin. The media have jumped on these incidents and made them into six-inch headlines. Anti-Christian activists parade these moral failures in their continuing effort to discredit Christianity. Their comments are full of hate and venom. The name of Jesus Christ is being publically dragged through worse than mud – more like stable muck, all because public (and non-public) Christians say one thing and do another. The shame of it is the message they are espousing is valid and necessary, and in the case of the gospel, life-changing. But the message is lost in the actions of the messenger.
Paul spoke a warning that rings true today: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you” (Romans 2:24). The name of God, the Son of God, the Church that He established and the faith that carries His title are blasphemed, derided and mocked because Christian integrity has gone out the window. Integrity in the Bible is defined as blamelessness, innocence, soundness and purity. Jesus was a man of integrity; He was true, genuine, reliable, and trustworthy, and what He spoke was valid. By definition, the opposite of biblical integrity is to keep secret and hidden, to escape notice. But sin will not go unnoticed by the One who sees everything. God declared, “My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from me, nor is their sin concealed from my eyes” (Jeremiah 16:17). One of the greatest heroes of the Bible found that out the hard way.
David was the king of Israel, a position given to Him by Jehovah God, who brought him from the sheep-folds to the palace in Jerusalem. David was a man of God, He knew the Lord intimately and knew all that he was and all that he had came from His hand. But David wanted one thing God forbade, Bathsheba, the wife of one of his officers. Despite his power in Israel and his relationship with Jehovah God, the king took the path of sin and entered into an adulterous relationship with the woman. When Bathsheba learned she was pregnant, David sent orders for her husband, Uriah, to be killed in battle so that he could marry her. Bathsheba gave birth to David’s son, and for a while all seem well hidden. David continued to observe the practices of the Jewish religion, all the while stuffing his sin deeper and deeper into a pit. But God saw, and God confronted David through the prophet Nathan, who upon telling a fictitious story of one man’s sin, pointed his finger at David and declared “You are the man!” (2 Samuel 12:7). David was overcome with grief over his sin and prayed for cleansing, but the end result of his actions was the death of his and Bathsheba’s child. (Read the whole account in 2 Samuel 11:1-12:18.)
The consequences of David’s actions were the same as the consequences of the sinful actions of those in the public eye who have been caught in child abuse, pornography and marital scandals – devastation. The Bible assures us that the consequence of a lack of integrity is destruction. Marriages have been destroyed, families have been ripped apart, children harmed in horrific ways and reputations have been ruined forever. In addition to these, the Christian witness has been made a thing of ridicule and spite. The consequences in some instances are eternal. Many will reject any thought of Christ and salvation because of the sinful actions of Christians, in the public eye as well as in the house next door.
Solomon wrote: “The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes a crooked path will be found out” (Proverbs 10:9). Trust me when I say, you cannot hide sin deep enough. God can see through every shovelful of dirt you try to pile on top, and in this day of media investigation, your secrets won’t stay secret very long.
How can believers in Christ counteract this trend? We must become people of integrity, and of genuine faith, committed to uphold the name and reputation of Jesus Christ. We must surrender our sinful, lustful desires and lay hold of the power of the Holy Spirit to live godly, pure lives so that no one can point a finger at us and ridicule the entire Christian faith. Peter wrote: “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us” (1 Peter 2:12). That is the kind of people we must be. We must determine to live in such a way that no accusation can be made against us and there is no hidden sin to be revealed. Let us commit to be Daniels in our generation, people of whom it can be said “No corruption could be found in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent” (Daniel 6:4). Integrity will always shine forth in this dark world. Let’s be people of light and illuminate the way to the Savior.
Holy Father, I am not a perfect person, but I desire to be a person of integrity, a follower of Christ in word and deed and an example of holiness in my generation. Amen.