I can remember sitting in a counseling session talking to our marriage counselor. Trisha and I were still separated at this point. One of the things were discussing was integrity. When you’ve had an affair, there’s no doubt that you lack integrity…but this discussion was about something bigger.
This conversation was about the origin of integrity lost; it was about how my heart initially got disconnected from Truth. At one point, our counselor said, “You seem to lie, even when the truth would do.” That statement hit me right between the eyes.
The lies I told weren’t always big lies. Sometimes I left out a detail; sometimes I added details; sometimes I embellished; sometimes I exaggerated; sometimes I withheld truth. My motivation for lying when the truth would do was to look better than I really was. I wanted to appear smarter; more gifted; more capable; more spiritual; more impressive, more lovable.
One of the things that our counselor helped me realize is that my desire to stretch the truth; to withhold truth; to embellish a story; to exaggerate details is directly connected to my intimacy level with God.
This temptation is almost like a gas gauge to my spiritual life. When I’m tempted to compromise truth, that is a red flag to me of a heart condition that I need to recognize…a distance exists between God’s heart and mine. If left unchecked being tempted to distort truth will turn into a loss of integrity.
My guess is you have the same gauge in your heart. It might not be the same as mine, but there is a signature temptation in your life that indicates danger. It isn’t something that starts out big; it’s not something that starts out destructive; it’s not something that would appear to do damage to your relationship with God or others. But you know that when that temptation hits your mind, it is a huge sign that you’ve drifted away from the heart of God. It is in that moment that so much hangs in the balance; and you have the potential to choose life or death.
So often we lose sight of the opportunities we have to avoid sin. Because of insecurity, or pride or our shallow character we don’t admit the temptations we experience. As a result they grow into destructive behavior patterns.
My prayer for the last five years has been “Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me.” Through that prayer, God has revealed in me the “why’s” of my sin, and not just the “what’s”.
Without understanding the motivation we have to allow compromise in our life, it is almost impossible to overcome that desire to compromise.