Thursday, October 16, 2014

When Integrity is Elusive

Integrity isn't always easy. Doing the right thing isn't always the thing that we want to do.

Sometimes that's because it requires an extra step, an extra bit of effort. Sometimes it's because doing the right thing will make it impossible to do the things that we secretly want, and it can be hard to climb over that selfishness.

Sometimes doing the right thing is lonely. You're the only one -- and that's hard for a couple reasons.  To begin with, you're alone. Hard things are always easier when you have someone to share it with. So to do something alone... it's heart-challenging.

But, too, when you're the only one doing the right thing... it sends a message to everyone else. And perhaps it isn't one that you intend.  Perhaps the message you intend is more like "This is what's right for me, so this is what I'm going to do."  But often the message that gets heard is "This is what's right... and you're Satan's spawn for not doing it."

The truth is that all of us do things that are wrong...  Much of the time, we even know that it's wrong and that we should be choosing something different. So when we're already dealing with an inner conscience who we are purposely ignoring, it's doubly uncomfortable to get a message from outside that reinforces the message of the one that we're getting on the inside.

Because... we know.  We already know.  But, the more voices that tell us we're wrong, the harder it is to ignore and, truly I think, the more guilty that we feel.

We don't like feeling that way.

But changing what we're doing...  well, we don't want to do that either.  So the other choice for making the feeling go away?  Oh that choice is to attack the outside voice. If we can make that voice disappear, it's so much easier to keep on going, doing what we were doing.

So, when you're the outside voice...  it can be awfully lonely doing the right thing.

But I think that integrity is important -- and so you still have to go after it. You still have to keep trying to do what's right -- because, at the end of the day, I would rather be the one person holding out a hand than to be part of the crowd throwing stones.

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