A message from Rev. Suzelle Lynch
That’s our theme for this month. It’s the quality of being honest and morally upright – it has to do with acting in accordance with our values. It has to do with the way we live our lives every day. But integrity also means “the state of being whole and undivided,” which leads some of us to believe that we have to uphold certain principles and values in our lives no matter what, and/or that the same moral values and principles should apply to everyone, universally.
I’m not sure it’s that simple.
At the risk of sounding “preachy,” (always a risk when we’re discussing moral stuff like integrity), here’s how my musings on integrity have unfolded recently…
First, truthfulness. Integrity leans on our willingness to tell the truth. Telling the truth to others, but also to ourselves. The problem? Truth-telling takes courage. The other problem? We human beings are often very good at fooling ourselves or mistaking “loyalty to what we were taught” for integrity.
Integrity as truthfulness leans on self-awareness and humility. To be a person of integrity, we have to be self-aware enough to willing to be wrong, and able to admit it. Rats! I hate being wrong; I was raised to be smart, for heaven’s sake! Smart, and right. But somewhere along life’s path, I realized that integrity is more critical to my wholeness than being right is.
The next step: Integrity as humility leans on recognizing that we are not isolated “human units;” our actions affect the people our lives touch, and ripple out far beyond our knowing. Integrity recognizes that we’re inextricably connected in a broad web of other lives.
Integrity-as-connection means being willing to apologize, seek forgiveness and make amends. Listening is a spiritual practice that gets us there. What if we all doubled down on listening whenever we started to feel defensive? I’m willing to try it, how about you?
What does integrity mean to you? Is it about staying faithful to something or someone? Could it be about allowing yourself to unfold, or matching your insides with your outsides? Maybe it’s about refusing to hide, or putting the pieces of a shattered self back together…
I look forward to exploring Integrity with you this month.
With faith in the future and joy in the present,
The Rev. Suzelle Lynch, Minister