We cannot finesse integrity

By Dave Henning / July 29, 2018

“We can try to finesse the rules if we want to, and we may get away with it.  We may even be able to convince ourselves.  But we cannot finesse integrity.”- John Ortberg

“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.”- Ephesians 4:25 (NIV)

In Chapter 10 (“Play by the Rules”) of When the Game is Over, John Ortberg notes that every game comes with a set of rules.  Furthermore, breaking the rules always results in consequences.  However, far too often we find ways around rules.  And sometimes, Pastor Ortberg adds, we even try to hide our dishonesty from ourselves.  Games always test our integrity.

Thus, rules bring us to a much deeper issue – the issue of character.  For integrity issues arise all the time, from white lies to broken promises.  Also, people violate their integrity despite their knowledge of what the Scriptures say (Ephesians 4:25).  Therefore, John adds, generally our problem is not that we don’t know the rules.  Rather, our problem centers on our failure to live what we already know.

Finally, a man named Francois de la Rochefoucauld once defined hypocrisy as the homage vice pays to virtue.  Most noteworthy, Pastor Ortberg explains the cost of hypocrisy:

“We break rules — we violate God’s will — because we think breaking them will help us win, or at least avoid pain.  But what we do not see is that the very breaking of them turns us into the kind of people who are increasingly incapable of the gratitude and purity of heart that makes lasting happiness and meaning possible.  In a strict sense, I cannot break the rules.  They endure, for they reflect the way things are.  I can only break myself against them.”

Today’s question: In what ways have you tried to finesse the rules?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Behavior modification plan”

About the author

Dave Henning

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