Charles Causey talks about “force multipliers”in his new book, Words and Deeds. What does he mean by those? Here is his definition: “an attribute that significantly increases the effectiveness of the group to accomplish its mission.” These are also operational for an individual to use even though a partner who walks alongside and holds us accountable can be invaluable. I like this term and its meaning as we look at how we lay better hold on integrity so that our lives more resemble Christ, our words and actions match.
Causey identifies six of these and his list is so excellent, I will use these to identity tools to grow us toward greater integrity.
First is prayer. It’s obvious, right? Even so, it is not always the first thing that comes to mind despite its power capacity to move mountains. It starts with using what we learn in the mirror of God’s Word and then talking to Him about those very things. It requires us to trust Him and believe in the truth of what we read in His Word, that He will forgive us what we confess and grant us grace. Too often we hesitate to bring what we discover about ourselves to Him. We get comfortable with it because it has been a part of us for a long time and we also get lazy.
If we want to develop Christ-like integrity, our first stop will need to be prayer and humbly acknowledging we cannot create integrity or speak it into existence. He will need to shape us and bring that quality into being.
Second is forgiveness. When we hold onto hurts and offenses we have with someone else, we cannot walk in integrity. If we have not forgiven and go the outward pretense that all is well we operate in hypocrisy rather than integrity. Forgiveness means we act as well as confess. That very necessary component speaks to integrity as action and words intersect.
Third is listening. Listening appears to be a lost art. Everyone is distracted by something whether internal thoughts or the device in his or her hand. How often do we see someone who appears to be involved in meeting with someone and yet there is little eye contact and more murmurs of “umhum” than real dialogue. Last week I was walking on a trail with a friend and we observed others walking alone or with friends while communicating with cell phones instead of enjoying the person with them or the beautiful spring day.
If we say we care about someone and do not listen to him or her, we are deceived. If we do not listen to them, how can we know them or even respond truthfully to what we hear. If we do not listen, we effectively communicate that we really do not care no matter what our words were. Listening is a gift that we give and becomes evidence that we care when we have said already in words: “you matter to me.”
Fourth is promptness. I confess right now that this is not my strong suite and one I am working on daily. We all can have legitimate reasons why we are sometimes late; but if it is a pattern in our lives because we have tried to squeeze in one other thing or appointment, didn’t allow for construction or other delays, or never keep track of the clock we need to be honest about what that says. Promptness shows respect and means we have put someone else first.
When I was working as a clinical counselor, one person I met with spoke often about her difficulty feeling valuable or important to anyone. As we explored where that belief came from, we discovered it started (in part) when her father was always late when he came to visit her after her parents divorced.
Fifth is resiliency. Resiliency isn’t ignoring things that happen to us, we only have it when we face our pain, emotions, failures, and disappointments and move through them to the mercy and grace the Lord has waiting for us. Forgiveness helps us develop more of this quality and leads to the strength and toughness we need to be a person of integrity. It also results in greater empathy in our relationships as we can identify with and walk with others to encourage them to face life honestly. But we don’t magically create resiliency either. Only the Lord can be our source.
Once again, Paul speaks to this. We find his direction in Romans 5:1-5:
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
Character equals integrity.
Kindness is the last multiplier. Kindness as a multiplier means being generous, patient, warmhearted, helpful or thoughtful without expecting anything in return. It is a quality too seldom talked about as a clear indicator of love and a boost to our integrity.
Charles Causey’s words say it best:
“Kindness is a huge integrity force multiplier. It allows people to see a man more interested in others than he is in himself. Kindness is sometimes overlooked by those writing about love. However, kindness should be considered love’s DNA, or love’s volcanic core.”