Integrity (feat. Batman and Migos)
In our world, and specifically our Western culture, we are constantly being told things like “find yourself”, “trust your heart” and that appearances don’t matter because “it’s what’s on the inside that really counts.” And while I believe these assertions are loving sentiments, they simply aren’t true.
Don’t misunderstand what I’m implying here. I am NOT saying that what’s on the inside doesn’t matter, or that we should put on a front and pretend to be something we are not. What I am saying is that what is on the inside is not the ONLY thing that matters. And here’s why:
If what you do does not match up with who you believe you are “on the inside”, you might not really be that person at all.
In our language we would call this integrity. The idea is that what we say we believe, is evident in our lives. Or as Migos would say, “Walk it like we talk it”.
Bruce Wayne, a.k.a. Batman, tells us more about this idea in Batman Begins. Here’s the scene:
For context, Rachel is his childhood best friend turned crush and the person whose opinion Bruce cares most about in the world.
Bruce (Batman) - “Rachel, all of this… it’s not me. Inside I am, I am more.”
Rachel - “Bruce, deep down you may still be that same great kid you used to be. But it’s not who you are underneath, it’s what you do that defines you.”
These words cut me deep to the bones because I identify with Bruce so much. I believe I am the hero of the story, I think I am a great person deep down, yet sometimes my walk doesn’t match my talk. My actions do not show that I am “more”.
When I consider my mistakes, I always think about what my intentions were or make excuses by claiming that this action was an exception and not who I really am. That I had a bad day, or this was a unique case that doesn’t display the “real me”. But the sad reality is this: day after day as I claim that each of these instances were isolated, uncharacteristic mistakes, they have slowly become the norm, and only I truly believe that this isn’t the real Wayne.
But it makes sense doesn’t it? We can’t imagine we are truly this bad. This has to be an isolated incident, an outlier, a bad day. But the truth is, our actions reveal what we truly believe and we live our lives based on, our “Functional Theology”.
I’ll be married in under 100 days to my wonderful fiancé, who I love. However, what would you think if you saw me taking another woman on dates every other week, yet I told you that I really loved Morgan and only wanted to be with her? Any rational person would say I’m a liar, a cheater, and don’t really love her. My words say one thing, but my actions reveal that my words were all a lie, and sadly, I bought it.
How much more sorrow would this lie bring if you came to give your life for someone, that person gave their word to live to honor your memory, and then over and over again they let you down?
Not only did God think that we might let him down, He knew it before he ever gave us breath. Yet he still stepped down from Heaven in the form of man, lived a life we never could live, and then gave himself over to die in order to pay for these “exceptions” and “bad days” that are really just bad lives. All this He did, because while we were yet sinners and enemies of God, He loved us (Romans 5:8). And he didn’t just say he loves us but gave everything he had to prove it (1 John 3:16). He and he alone walked it like he talked it.
How shameful is it that even with this knowledge we still turn our backs on God and choose to do our own thing again and again? When will we stop making excuses and simply ask God to forgive us, change our hearts, and begin taking his commands seriously? His grace is enough to forgive our mistakes, and his love is great enough to send his Spirit into our hearts and change it from the inside out in order to to make us more and more like him each day.
My prayer is that we will ask Him to abide with us today and begin to bring life to our dead hearts; that he will make both our thoughts and actions reflect his own love for himself and his image bearers.