There have been so many times when an article idea burns itself in my brain or a verse jumps out at me and triggers an entire page worth of notes and I dive for my computer, ready to put my thoughts to type when, halfway through the post, memories of my past behaviors and comments stop me in my tracks. To make it even worse, I found out a few days ago that my mother is following my blog. Now talk about intimidating! There’s no fooling mom. I can present a mask well enough to you all, but she’s seen me at my worst, and probably even has the pictures to prove it. How I would love to be a Ruth! Known not for what I write, but instead for how I live my life. Luckily I do have a “Boaz” who keeps me on my toes and reminds me, not through words but through action, what it really means to follow Christ. As the saying goes, integrity shows itself when no one’s watching. And yet, people are watching, when we’re least expecting it. And what we do on the day to day speaks volumes.
This morning as I was reading Ruth, Boaz’s description of her struck a cord. He said, “Now don’t worry about a thing, my daughter. I will do whatever is necessary, for everyone in this town knows you are a virtuous woman.”
Everyone in the town knew Ruth was virtuous. Morally excellent. Not because they’d read her blog or listened to her lengthy prayers, but because they watched her in action. And then listen to what Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law, had to say about Boaz. “Just be patient, my daughter, until we hear what happens. The man won’t rest until he has settled things today.”
Ruth and Boaz were people of integrity, and everyone knew it. Their integrity drew them together. The other day I happened upon a thread talking about marriage. The general consensus seemed to be that men were pigs and women were cold. Being the romance-advocate that I am (in case you weren’t aware, I have a weekly marriage column) I had to jump in with my two-cents worth. Never a good idea, really, to go meddling in conversations that really don’t pertain to you, but I hated to see so many people give up on the fairy-tale so easily. The response I received in return made me think. The original poster told me that I obviously hadn’t met all the men who refused to commit. And to be honest, she was right. In my circle, I know very few men like that. The men I know are great fathers and committed husbands. But this got me thinking. I know, never a good idea, and here comes the worst idea yet–I’m gonna share my conclusion with you all. Good thing hurling tomatoes can’t penetrate my computer screen. Ready for the bombshell?
I wondered why my experiences were so different from those of my friend. I realized it had to do with who I associated with and where I spent my time. (Sorry to disappoint you ladies, but you’re not gonna find Prince Charming at your local pub.) If you want to find a man, or a friend, with integrity, you’ve got to be a woman of integrity, because like it or not, birds of a feather do flock together. Why do I love my husband? Not because he’s dashing and strong (although he is <grin>) but because he’s a man of integrity. It’s what I see in him when he thinks no one is watching that draws my heart the most. And his consistency has challenged me to be a better wife and mother, and a more committed follower of Christ.
So what is integrity? Integrity is going the extra mile when you could have stopped at one. Integrity is doing a job well even if no one will notice. Integrity is offering a hand, speaking a word of kindness, and refusing to hide behind nominal Christianity. Integrity is opening your ears to that still small voice and replying, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” And then doing what God asks.