Saturday, March 23, 2013

Spontaneous Conformity

            We have all been there. There is this person who just seems to light up your life when you see him or her. You feel like you’re on top of the world, yet you don’t know what to say or how to act when this amazing and attractive person is near you, let alone consuming your mind. It’s one of life’s biggest paradoxes. You get butterflies in your stomach, you stop eating and you lose weight, you get nervous and sweat even at the thought of this person, yet you could move a fallen red oak tree with your bear hands if it meant being with him or her. In the words of an old song, “It sounds like love’s got a hold on you; no doubt love’s got a hold on you.”
            This article seeks to bring up the point of instantly agreeing with someone about things that you like or don’t like, agreeing with incomplete truth and the consequences of such an agreement. For instance, if you and the lady you are with are having a deep analytical conversation about Oreo cookies, and she reveals to you that they are one of the most amazing things that were ever smashed between her teeth, when all of the sudden you reply with something that seems to her as your mutual passion for Oreo cookies.
            The problem arrives when she goes to your house and sees the posters in your living room of peanut butter cookies all over them, 5 jars of peanut butter in your cupboards and shrines to peanut butter cookies, she will question your passion and in your nervousness, you will reveal to her the truth... which is that you aren’t nearly as passionate about Oreos as she is. This might seem like a silly scenario, but it unveils something that often hinders growth in relationships: a lack of personal integrity.
            Say there was this guy who was head over heels for this girl and they went through the Oreo experience explained above. To her, this experience throws a red flag in the air. Even though this might seem like a small setback, it is still a red flag in her mind. Especially in the early stages of a relationship, red flags are not easily forgotten. In other words, even the smallest red flag is still a red flag. No matter what you believe, red flags are always in the back of someone’s mind. It seems that the size of the red flag or the amount of them is what destroys further growth of a potential relationship. Therefore, in this article, the desire is to explain how to eliminate at least one of those red flags.
            As alluded to above, personal integrity is something that strengthens a good relationship, and it also promotes oneself. It strengthens a good relationship because it develops trust. It seems that simply not being dishonest is a characteristic of integrity, but that is only a portion of it. Integrity is more than that. It can be defined as a firm adherence to morals and unchanging honesty. In other words, a man of integrity will understand what he likes (such as Oreos or peanut butter cookies) and not change his preferences due to what he perceives as the best way to cause healthy growth in a relationship he seeks to pursue. He will simply stick to his guns.
            How does being a person of integrity promote oneself in the arena of dating or availability? People are genuinely attracted to other people they can trust. Think about it... what is the one thing that makes your best friend, your best friend? Some might say shared experiences, but that just boils down to trust! Through shared experiences, you have learned to trust your best friend. If you were to hear about something you told your best friend in secret from someone else, how would that make you feel about him or her? Some might say that a best friend is a loyal friend. What makes them “loyal?” Perhaps it is simply because they are trustworthy. It seems that a best friend should say or imply something like, “I will be there for you whenever you need me.” If the person was never there when you needed him or her even after mentioning that they would always be there, would you forever call them your best friend? I certainly hope not. Just like a person can sense the integrity of a person in a best friend relationship, it is just as easy for someone to sense the integrity of a person in a dating relationship.
            In Luke chapter 16, starting at verse one, Jesus was telling a parable to His disciples. He explained that there was a manager who was squandering his master’s possessions, treating the possessions as his own, and so the manager was called in by his master and told that he could no longer be a manager. The manager’s reaction, which was to make friends with his master’s debtors by lessening the debts they owed, ultimately caused his master to commend him. In verse ten, Jesus says, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much” (NIV Luke 16:10). For the purposes of this article, the emphasis is found in the second half of this verse: “Whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”
            This is the pinnacle of a lack of integrity in a relationship. This is what people sense. If you are dishonest in small things such as what cookies you like, this dishonesty will reflect your wholeness of personal integrity and thus repel that which you are trying to gain. In other words, it will work against you. Therefore, work on being a man or woman of high moral standards; be unchanging in the small things as you would the big things in life.
            Jesus explains that in general, people who have, more will be given to them; and those who do not have, even what little they have will be taken away (Luke 19:26). These verses are psychological epitomes of integrity. An implication taken from them is that trustworthy people are very recognizable and will constantly acquire the opportunity to use this “trustworthiness” they possess. With all of this in mind, I urge the reader to take this information seriously; think about it and remember it often. Allow God to bring blessing in your life by obeying Him and being a person of unimpaired integrity.

Written by Nace Howell through the grace of the Lord Jesus

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