"Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling that truth to other people." - Spencer Johnson.
Have you ever said yes to something when deep within you wanted to say NO? You find yourself trying to satisfy and please other people to avoid hurting them, but truth be told, you are the one who ends up hurt and frustrated because you gave in to something that you didn't want to. But to avoid conflict and keep the peace, you went along to get along.
Did you know that saying NO and YES are both loving words? We can let people lovingly understand when I say No; it's not against you, but it's for me! Think about it this way, saying no may make you sad, but it doesn't make me bad! When we say yes to people when we really want to say no, we live outside of our integrity and hurt ourselves and the other person in the process. This is not God's will for our lives. In John 8:32, Jesus says, "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
When you demonstrate integrity, you draw others to you because you are trustworthy and dependable. You are principled and can be counted on to behave honorably, no matter the circumstance. Essentially, it is when the inner world of your truth, beliefs, ethics, commitments, values, and desires aligns with your actions and behavior in the outer world. Integrity is profound, and it involves living from the soul.
We share the truth when we value relationships we care about, whether between a husband and wife, a boyfriend and girlfriend, friend to friend, co-worker to co-worker, or someone in our church. But here's the thing, you can only live by values if you know what you truly believe. So, start by defining your core values. These are the values that, no matter what the consequence, you're not going to compromise them. Next, we must be honest with our feelings and share that truth with others. In Ephesians 4:25a, the Bible tells us, "So you must stop telling lies. Tell each other the truth, because we all belong to each other in the same body."
When we feel pressure from others, whether they approve or not - we can still remain calm and hold confidently to who we are in Christ (and who we're not) without getting triggered. We can still walk hand-in-hand, even when we don't see eye to eye.
DIFFERENTIATION IS KEY!
Many people find it difficult to express their true feelings, while others don't always know how to express them appropriately. So we can disagree and remain connected! It's called: Differentiation; it's the ability to stay connected to people (togetherness) yet not allow your reactions or behaviors to be triggered by them (separateness). In other words, when someone disagrees with you, you stand your ground, hold fast to your convictions, but you don't have to cut off the relationship because you realize people may hold different views and opinions, and that's okay!
When we are mature and emotionally intelligent, we’re differentiated. Jesus was differentiated. He said no to many things and people while holding on to His beliefs and never holding people's disappointments against them. Instead, he loved and served people while maintaining a non-anxious presence amid enormous stress and pressure!
When we live in, and with integrity, we can be confident like David in Psalm 41:12, where he says to the Lord, “Because of my integrity, you uphold me, and set me in your presence forever.”
THE LADDER OF INTEGRITY
We want to introduce you to an excellent tool: the ladder of integrity. It's designed to help you get rigorously honest about what you feel so that you can identify your values. Then, when you determine your values or why something matters to you, you can express your feelings without resorting to dirty fighting tactics. In other words, you can act with integrity.
The ladder of integrity is a step-by-step process, like rungs on a ladder. It's a personal tool not meant to be shared with anyone. It's for you to process your thoughts and feelings with God. And, if you're processing a conflict with someone, what's interesting is that this will require you to remove the "plank" out of your eye before you take the "speck" out of someone else's. In other words - you have to own your piece of the conflict. Ultimately, the ladder is designed to help you get clear and be able to respond respectfully based on your values, as opposed to being reactive or avoiding conflict. It enables you to live with integrity before the Lord because you clarify what's essential.
This is part of what it means to be emotionally intelligent. Remember, EQ is the ability to recognize your emotions, regulate them, and understand and influence the feelings of others positively. It allows you to decode emotions (yours and others') and use that awareness to guide your decisions!
Keep this thought in mind, “True peace never comes by pretending that what's WRONG is RIGHT.”
- MESSAGE: For the entire message from Part 3 of Liquid Church's "EQ: Emotionally Intelligent Relationships" Series, "The Ladder of Integrity," click here.
- MESSAGE: If you missed Part 2 of Liquid Church’s EQ: Emotionally Intelligent Relationships” series, “The Stories We Tell Ourselves,” click here.
- PDF: The Ladder of Integrity is a tool developed by Pete & Geri Scazzero in their course EHR. It’s a tool that you use when something is bothering you, and you can’t quite get a handle on what it is. You can access the PDF version here.