“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways
crooked will be found out.”
Biblical scholar N.T. Wright, says,
“You become what you habitually do.” He suggests, “Character is formed by the thousand little choices that we make each and every day.”
While out shopping the other day, I was confronted with this truth.
After a long shopping trip and even longer day I found myself standing outside of Target with an inexpensive item on the bottom of my cart which I had not paid for. In that moment of realizing I had not paid for the small item, I was presented with an ethical dilemma. While it would have been convenient to pretend I didn’t notice the item had not been paid for and just hopped in my car and been on my way, the words of N.T. Wright rang in my head.
On the one hand, I’m sure I could have found countless reasons to justify why Target, the giant corporation did not really need the couple bucks from this small item. After all, they are paid plenty of money from my family every month. Isn’t that enough?
On the flip side, while I do not consider myself a thief, I was hit with the thought, “How many times does one have to steal before they are a thief?”
How many times does one have to do anything before that label describes them as an individual?
You see, the few dollars that this item cost was really not the issue at all; there was so much more at stake…my integrity. If I become what I habitually do and if character is formed by the thousand little choices that we make each and every day, I knew I had to pay for that seemingly small item.
After unloading numerous bags into my car, I walked back into Target and paid for the product. While Target would have probably never known if I had paid for it or not, I would have. More so, God would have.
Proverbs 10:9 says, “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.”
Proverbs 11:3 says, “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.”
Proverbs 20:7, 11 says, “The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him! Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.”
Just as we would expect from others, let’s expect the same from ourselves. May we never rationalize a decision, even a seemingly small one.
Rather, let’s always look to God’s character, the Bible, and the example of Jesus as the basis for all of our decisions, even the small ones.
If you have gotten off track today in regards to an ethical decision, whether big or small, it’s never too late to get back on track. Trust me, I have been there.
1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
The next time we are faced with an ethical delimea, let’s choose the road of virture. Let’s purpose today to walk in integrity, even in our simple, everyday choices. They matter because,