United We StandBlog / Produced by The High Calling
The cry inspired Kentucky’s state motto. In the 1970s, it was the title of a popular song. Following the September 11th attacks, the three words became a rallying point: United we stand.
In Proverbs 11: 3, we read: “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” (NIV)
Yale law professor Stephen Carter, author of the best seller Culture of Unbelief, writes: “Integrity is like the weather. Everybody talks about it, but nobody knows what to do about it.” The injunction in Proverbs is strong, but what does integrity look like?
From the Latin integritas, integrity means coherent, complete, or whole. Think of a whole number undivided – not a fraction or in any sense incomplete. Hebrew authors referring to a person of integrity had in mind a person of completeness – a well-lived, undivided life.
Our fragmented society makes it easy to separate Sunday character from Monday conduct. On Sunday we embrace grace, humility, and service. Monday woos us with power and prestige, wealth and privilege. Our lives are part this, part that. And divided we fall. Our souls disintegrate, destroyed by our duplicity.
Our Creator placed in us a yearning for wholeness, for congruence between our inner and outer lives. And He gave us the One in whom all things are made complete. When we become one with Christ, the Holy Spirit begins a work of sanctification to re-integrate in us a heart for God, a mind centered on Christ, and a will to serve none but the Master. Conflicts between character and conduct gradually resolve. Life is “put back together,” and we stand united, with nothing to hide or fear.
When passion for integrity guides us, our co-workers, families, neighbors, and enemies see the affections of our hearts on display in our lives. In the words of Parker Palmer, we begin “living on the outside the truth we know on the inside.” And as the song lyrics remind us, if our backs should ever be against the wall, “we’ll be together, together, you and I” – standing united and complete in Christ.
Questions for reflection:
• Are you more motivated today by worldly success or a passion for integrity?
• In the deep recesses of your soul, do you feel united or divided?