A Vow of Integrity
By Brent Rinehart
“I will pay attention to the way of integrity. When will you come to me? I will live with a heart of integrity in my house. I will not let anything worthless guide me. I hate the practice of transgression; it will not cling to me. A devious heart will be far from me; I will not be involved with evil.” (Psalm 101:2-4, CSB)
It’s easy to watch the world around us and feel like we are suffering from an integrity deficit. Political leaders engage in name-calling and traffic in dishonesty for personal gain. Corporate CEOs focus on profits above decency. Media outlets publish misleading headlines for clicks. Millionaires cheat the system because they can. There’s a Jack Johnson song that asks the right question: “Where’d all the good people go?”
While it’s not hard to point out the lack of integrity we see around us, we have a little more trouble seeing it in ourselves. Jesus addressed our own personal blind spots when He said, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3).
I’ve heard it said that “the best argument for Christianity is Christians; and the strongest argument against Christianity is also Christians.” It’s because so many Christians can talk the right game, but have trouble walking it from time to time. Integrity – it’s not something we spend a lot of time discussing, or quite frankly, even thinking about. Being a person of integrity means having strong moral principles. It means being honest and trustworthy and doing the right thing in all circumstances. But, there’s another way the word is often used, and it means being whole, strong or undivided. Think about the integrity of a bridge or structure being compromised.
What does all this have to do with marriage? I love this passage from Psalm 101. In some translations, this passage is under the heading “A Vow of Integrity.” Here, David vows to live with integrity in his home. He promises not to “let anything worthless” guide him. He decides to shun evil and follow what is right. In other words, David recognized that if you chase the wrong things, you compromise the integrity of your home.
When we marry, we make vows to each other – “solemn promises” to be faithful, loving and loyal. In order to keep a vow like this to a spouse, there are some vows we need to keep with God and ourselves. We need a vow of personal integrity if we want to maintain the structural integrity of our marriage. What we say should line up with what we do. Instead of focusing on the flaws of our spouse, we need to steadily ask the Holy Spirit to remake us into the person we were made to be. To do that, our eyes have to stay fixed on Jesus.
In my personal life, the times when my wife and I haven’t felt like we were “clicking on all cylinders,” I can usually look internally at my walk with the Lord. In the moment, it’s easy for me to say, “she’s doing this” or “she’s not doing this.” But, after the dust settles, I can usually recognize that I’m the one who needs a “come to Jesus meeting,” quite literally.
Is anything worthless guiding you? Are you distracted and drawn to things that don’t matter, or even worse, are sinful? My pastor regularly says “what captures your attention, captures you.” Where your head goes, your heart follows. We have to “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). We need to “live with a heart of integrity in [our] house” (Psalm 101:2).
The bottom line is if I want to have a better marriage, I need to be a better me. I need to take a cue from David – a man after God’s own heart – and take a vow of integrity. If I am the man God has called me to be, I’m certain I’ll become the husband my wife deserves me to be.
Brent Rinehart is a public relations practitioner and freelance writer. He blogs about the amazing things parenting teaches us about life, work, faith and more at www.apparentstuff.com. You can also follow him on Twitter.
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