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Integrity (Part 2)

August 27th, 2009 Comments off

“The integrity of the upright will guide them.” – Proverbs 11:3

Another problem we face, like the self-serving bias in the previous post, is something called “fundamental attribution error.”  Here is what it looks like:  if something good happens we tend to explain it by taking credit for it, but if something bad happens we tend to explain it by blaming circumstances.  For example, if I do well on a test I think it is because I’m smart; if I do poorly, it’s because I was distracted and didn’t study enough.  But the issue gets worse when we try and put the blame on the behavior on other people instead of realizing our own bad behavior.  How about this example: if you have gotten a speeding ticket, or any type of ticket, you blame the police because they HAVE to fill their quota and were out catching speeders instead of real criminals…  I’ve heard that excuse a lot…and I hope I don’t ever use it, because the fact is you still sped, broke the law, and now justice needs to be rendered.  You can’t put the blame on other people, when you knowingly and willingly broke the law.  If they let all speeders and traffic rule breakers loose and catch only real criminals, there would be more accidents, deaths (that will affect families), and overall just utter chaos…  So, even though they have quota to meet, there is a good reason they have to do it.

What’s the solution to the fundamental attribution error?  The way of grace and repentance. We need God’s help to see the truth about ourselves. And He gives it to us in three ways:

  1. Through prayer.
  2. Through reading and applying His Word.
  3. Through people who love and know us well; people who don’t tell us what we want to hear but what we need to hear.

To live a life of integrity means taking the blame when you, yourself, did wrong and NOT blame others.  When we do that, we start to build up the self-serving bias and placing ourselves above others.  That’s why I believe humility goes hand-in-hand with integrity; you simply cannot have one without the other.  So take this time to start humbling yourself before the Lord and ask for his help and know you will receive it in one of the three ways mentioned earlier.

Categories: Devotions Tags: , ,

Integrity (Part 1)

August 26th, 2009 Comments off

“The integrity of the upright will guide them.” – Proverbs 11:3

I think the world would be a much better place if everyone had integrity.  And for the most part, there are a lot of people in the world who have admirable integrity.  But there is one problem, which is called “the self-serving bias.”  That means pretty much everyone believes they are above average.  Take this for an example: 800,000 high school students were asked whether they were above or below average. Now if they were accurate they’d have split 50-50. Guess what percentage rated themselves below average? Zero! 20% rated themselves in the top 1%!  This self-serving bias is seen in many areas, most drivers view themselves as above-average drivers, 88% of college professors rated themselves as above average, and 90% of all pastors within the survey rated themselves above average preachers…

This is a huge problem because when we begin to view ourselves above others it begins to disintegrate our integrity and our capacity for integrity.  Jesus said: “…many who are first will be last, and the last, first.” (Mark 10:31) The fact is we should never view ourselves above average because it just sets us up in a very bad place.  Becoming first doesn’t necessarily make us bad, but while we continue to view ourselves above average, humility and integrity begin to become absent.  In a way, we start to become the Pharisees…  Our problem is not just our lack of integrity, but that we can’t see how badly we lack it.

I viewed myself as a good driver (no accidents, or tickets, etc.), but doesn’t speeding (even a little) or performing the infamous California rolling stop already diminish that goodness?  I am in fact a very poor driver according to the law, and I can never say I am above average unless I begin to always follow speed limits, stop completely, and other things the law requires.  In fact that’s almost the same as when we view ourselves as good people, and we deserve to go to heaven.  But God has given us a very strict law, The Ten Commandments, and if you have ever broken one of them, you are considered a sinner and are destined to hell.  We should never think of ourselves as good people because we simply aren’t.  There was only one who was righteous and his name is Jesus, and that is why he was able to take our sins away, because he himself was blameless and pure.

This devotion has helped me realize that I should always humble myself in situations and never view myself above average in any situation.  That doesn’t automatically give me integrity, but it will allow me to produce an integrity that will constantly guide me as the verse from Proverbs above says.  Do you view yourself as above average in anything?