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Monday, June 11, 2012

Pastorgraphs: “Integrity and Moral Fiber”

E-Vangel Newsletter
June 11, 2012

Pastorgraphs: “Integrity and Moral Fiber”

Everyone these days talks about integrity—or the lack thereof—but each person defines integrity differently. Ask ten people to define integrity, but don’t be surprised when you get ten different answers.

I have been working on a framework for integrity now for four years. There are so many pieces to the puzzle. It seems no one has put all the pieces together to reveal a comprehensive picture of what integrity is (and is not). Like an author with “writer’s block”, I knew what I wanted to say, but just couldn’t get things organized exactly the way I wanted to say it. Then, last week, something clicked, and the pieces fell into place. It is no longer a struggle, and the words are now flowing freely. It is a joy to wake up and get to my computer to put the once elusive words into writing.

I will keep you posted on when the framework is finalized. So be forewarned, these Pastorgraphs for the next few weeks may be excerpts of my new labor of love. That’s probably not so bad; for I cannot imagine a time when we need to be thinking more about ethics, virtues, character and integrity.

The problem is: everyone wants to possess ethics, virtues, character and integrity, but do not know what makes up each aspect, or how they build upon each other. (Help is on the way! Give me a bit longer, and I will share a simple but comprehensive framework for integrity.)  

I recently came across the term “moral fiber”, a term I haven’t heard in a long time, and decided to drill down on “moral fiber” to see where it fits in the framework of integrity.

To have integrity, one must align beliefs and actions. If we put our beliefs (our ethical structure) on one side, and our actions (our “virtues”) on the other side, what stands in the middle is our character.

That is where “moral fiber” comes in. Moral fiber is connecting what we say we believe with what we do. Or, as The Urban Dictionary puts it: “Moral fiber is the capacity to do what is right, no matter what the circumstance.”

But it is more than that. Stephen Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” said, "Our character is basically a composite of our habits. Because they are consistent, often unconscious patterns, they constantly, daily, express our character."

So our moral fiber includes the daily habits of making the moral, consistent connection between our words and actions.

The blueprint for integrity is simple. You don’t have to be a philosopher or theologian to see the roadmap. But simple does not mean easy. As Helen Keller said, "Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved."

In her book, Building Character, Gladys Hunt wrote: “Character forms the structure for your actions, your lifestyle, your outlook on life and how you rise to meet its challenges. Different aspects of a godly character join together to support each other, creating an inner life of integrity and strength. What does it take to build that kind of character?”

As John Luther put it this way, "Good character is more to be praised than outstanding talent. Most talents are, to some extent, a gift. Good character, by contrast, is not given to us. We have to build it piece by piece-by thought, choice, courage and determination."

I will have some exciting news to share very soon, including online resources, to help you, your family, your church or business, learn more about the simple steps to integrity.

Bless you, each and every one, Brother Bill

From the Quote Garden
“The final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands."
~ Anne Frank

“Christ in the Heart of San Diego”
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