“Love . . . does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail” (1 Corinthians 13:6 AMPC).
Throughout this series on 1 Corinthians 13, we see clearly that what matters most to God in a disciple is that person’s agape love.
Verse six identifies another way in which that love shows. A disciple can be trusted to do what is right and say what is true. That is, this person has trustworthy integrity.
This disciple does not deceive, does not slander, and does not behave in unwise ways. We can describe “integrity” as “showing we can be trusted to do what is right and say what is true.”
Earlier in this letter to Corinthian Christians, Paul confronted them with their toleration of—and perhaps their devious delight in gossiping about—something that was blatantly unrighteous: immorality within their congregation (1 Corinthians 5).
He also called them out on their embarrassing mismanagement of disputes with each other. Rather than settling disagreements within their family of believers, they took each other to court—weakening their witness by airing their dispute in front of a pagan judge and a pagan public.
“Your lawsuits show that you’ve lost [to Satan] already. Why not be wronged or cheated, rather than retaliate by wronging or cheating your own family of believers?” asked Paul (I Corinthians 6:7–8).
Here’s some good news in tough situations: When—not if—someone or some situation tests our commitment to do what is right or say what is true, it gives us another opportunity to worship. To worship is to “honor God acceptably with our heart, mind and strength.” When pressured to compromise our integrity, we can worship by standing firm on this reality: Since God is sovereign, my response to this situation is more important in His eyes than my situation itself.
God’s Word is clear about His countercultural desire for us to do what is right and say what is true:
Lord, who can dwell in Your tent? Who can live on Your holy mountain?
The one who lives honestly, practices righteousness,
and acknowledges the truth in his heart —
who does not slander with his tongue, who does not harm his friend or discredit his neighbor,
who despises the one rejected by the Lord but honors those who fear the Lord,
who keeps his word whatever the cost,
who does not lend his money at interest or take a bribe against the innocent —
the one who does these things will never be moved. (Psalm 15 HCSB).
Privately or with some friends, here are several questions to ponder:
- How does our trustworthy integrity reveal our convictions about God?
- On whom are we focusing—and not focusing—when we compromise our integrity?
- How is trustworthy integrity an act of worship?
- How do you expect that your commitment to trustworthy integrity will be tested this week?
© 2018 John C Garmo