Being a Woman of Integrity

It seems to me that there are a lot of articles, sermons and books exhorting men to be “men of integrity,” but there doesn’t seem to be much of a push for women to do the same. Why is that, I wonder? Is it not equally important that women – especially women who claim to be Christians – to live with integrity? I’ve been dwelling on that thought for the past several days. Subsequently, the thought has given birth to a desire for a new blog post.

First things first, let’s define integrity. A quick Google search yields this:
Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 11.30.39 AMThis is a pretty basic understanding of what integrity means. As a Christian, I believe it’s even more specific and all the more more important, as we are God’s representatives here on earth. Charles Swindoll, of Insight for Living, has this to say on Christian integrity:
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That’s not a very popular view today, is it? It seems all that matters nowadays is looking after one’s self. Just turning on the television will give an idea of how society regards integrity. The most popular shows are the ones that glorify adultery, sexual promiscuity, murder, theft, violence, you name it. No one bats an eye at the idea of using lies and manipulation to further self interests. Even Christians watch these shows and without realizing the impact they’re having on our hearts. But these things are the very opposite of what the Bible teaches.

Let’s face it: being a Christian is tough. Most of the time, being a Christian means taking the path of most resistance. In a culture that glorifies living in the flesh, Christ admonishes to rise about our debase human instincts to be more like Him. A woman of integrity strives to be like Jesus in public as well as in private. That doesn’t mean we’re perfect or somehow without sin because, there’s no getting around it, we all goof. What it does mean is that we’re aware of our choices and consistently striving to choose to live according to our convictions. It’s so important to realize that when we tell the world we’re Christian, people are going to be watching us and scrutinizing our actions. What are we telling the world by our lifestyle? Are we being a light in the darkness (Matthew 5:14-16), or are we a part of the darkness itself? Are we obeying Biblical commands or using our salvation as a free pass to live however we please? If we never told our friends and family that we are Christian, would they still be able to know it based the way we live our lives? These are important questions to ask ourselves on a regular basis. One quote that frequently comes to mind when I think of integrity is this:

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As Christian mothers, I find it especially important that we live with integrity. Our children are watching our every move. Our choices are shaping their little hearts. When they see us living one life at church or in front of Christians friends and another life in private or with our worldly friends, what message is that sending them? Are we pointing them towards God or towards the devil?

I realize that this is a difficult topic for many of us, but it’s of the utmost importance that we talk about this as believers. Morality is on it’s way out, so it’s my conviction that living a life of integrity is more important than ever. Let us remember The Great Commission in all the ways we live our lives, not just our words and actions in front of a select few – and in so doing, we will reflect Christ to the unsaved world. Amen.

On Josh Duggar, Sexual Sin, and the Sanctity of Marriage

Anyone with an internet connection has probably heard the news that Joshua Duggar was found guilty of viewing pornography and engaging in extramarital sexual affairs. From Duggar haters to Christians who once defended Josh in spite of his actions as a teenager, the internet is abuzz with this latest gossip and many people are happily riding their high and mighty horses.  I will admit to being one of those who once stood behind Josh and attempted to defend his actions as being a teenager who screwed up but since learned his mistake and mended his ways. I promise that I will try to stay off any high horses while I write this blog post. In fact, I am stopping intermittently as I type to pray and ask for guidance in my words so that it’s not my words coming out, but words reflecting God’s heart.

Josh Duggar is a sinner. His sins, it would seem, are rooted in sexual deviancy. He looked at pornography online. I also once viewed pornography before Jesus got a firm grasp on my heart. Josh is guilty of committing adultery. I was once the “other woman” and my sole reason for engaging in those acts was to get back at the woman he was dating because she was the “other woman” while he was in a committed relationship with me. Josh sought out extramarital affairs. I, too, engaged in sexual promiscuity outside of marriage. Like Josh, I am deeply sorry for those sins in which I partook. I absolutely will not stand here and throw stones at this man for committing sins of which I am also guilty; neither will I defend his actions. He was wrong. I was wrong. There you have it.

Here’s the thing that gets me, though. The primary difference between Josh Duggar and myself is the fact that I was never a public figure and willfully drawing attention to myself and parading around pretending to be a paradigm of righteousness while living a secret double life. As Christians we are not free of sin. We still mess up and have to fall back on God’s grace daily to help us. But when we struggle – and I promise you, we all struggle – we ought not to hide it, but rather we should look it straight in the face, repent and get help. Josh is so desperately in need of that help right now, but so many people are too busy judging him to stop and offer to help. When our brother in Christ struggles, let’s try to get past the initial shock and work on building him up and freeing him from the bondage of his sin.

The last thing that I want to address is how this all affects the sanctity of marriage. Joshua Duggar hypocritically went around speaking out against homosexuals and lobbying for Washington to put an end to homosexual marriage because of the negative impact it would have on the sanctity of marriage, meanwhile he was privately violating the sanctity of his own marriage. The Christian community as a whole needs to stop sweeping the subject of sexual sin under the rug. It’s time to address the giant pink elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about. We Christians tend to be quite fond of being vocal about how wrong homosexuality is, meanwhile we’re turning our heads to those among us who are having sex with people to whom they aren’t married, living with significant others before marriage, and divorcing and remarrying left and right. Y’all, this is absolutely an epidemic of sexual immorality we’re dealing with. We tiptoe around these people scared to death to call them on their sin because it’s not “PC” (even in the Christian world) to talk about those sins. But, hey, let’s all go throw stones at the homosexuals. Hello, brothers and sisters, it’s time to wake up! The sanctity of marriage is not in jeopardy because of the LGBT community; it’s in jeopardy because of lukewarm, apathetic Christians who no longer value fighting for biblical morality.

If you are professing to be a Christian while viewing pornography, having sex with someone to whom you are not married, partaking in sexual fantasies that are not being righteously fulfilled (a.k.a. within the boundaries of marriage), or even not “technically” engaging in sexual acts but are trying to bring sexual attention to yourself and causing others to stumble because of it, you need to repent immediately and seek out help. If we’re going to defend the sanctity of marriage we need to first stop pointing our finger at others for their sins and turn that finger right around and look at our own sins. When we get right with God, then we need to pray about finding a way to lift up our fellow brothers and sisters and help them overcome their obstacles in a spirit of love, grace and forgiveness.

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How Should Christians Respond to Abortion

I’ve been giving a whole lot of thought to the whole Planned Parenthood fiasco with those disturbing videos that keep being released, and the one thought that I keep coming back to over and over is the fact that there are so many Christians sitting by letting this happen and not saying a word about it. We can expect such indifference from the unsaved world, but how can those who profess to be followers of Christ possibly justify not taking a stand when babies are being slaughtered and their body parts sold? It’s so repulsive, so depraved, so morally repugnant that I simply cannot comprehend how it could possibly not invoke a powerful urge to action. Apparently, though, there are people who claim to be both Christian AND “pro-choice.” This simply cannot be. We cannot be both fresh water and salt water (John 3:11). And to those who believe abortion is wrong but never say or do anything about it – turning a blind eye and refusing to take a stand against it is just as bad as supporting it. But, hey, don’t just take my word for it; let’s see what the Bible says.

First of all, let’s look at how God views children:

  • Psalm 127:3 tells us, “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward.” 
  • In Matthew 18, Jesus called a child to Himself and placed that child before the people and said in verse 3, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” In verse 5 He goes on to say, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” 
  • In Mark chapter 10, a group of people try to bring their children to see Jesus but the disciples admonished them for it. Jesus saw this and was incensed. In verse 14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
  • Throughout the Old Testament we are told the importance of raising our children in reverence of the Lord. (Proverbs 22:6, Proverbs 22:15, Deuteronomy 6:7, Deuteronomy 11:9)
  • The New Testament also urges us to properly bring up children in the knowledge of the Almighty. (Ephesians 6:4, Timothy 3:14-15)

It’s clear that God loves children. He tells us that children are a blessing. He entrusts us with their care and exhorts us to rear them in the knowledge and understand of Himself. Jesus tells us that in order to get into heaven we ourselves must become like children in our faith. That paints a clear picture that He loves and treasures these little ones.

Now, let’s look at how God sees murder:

  • In the book of Exodus chapter 13 Moses is given the 10 Commandments. One of the most well-known is in verse 13: “You shall not murder.”
  • Leviticus 24:17 gives strong punishment for those guilty of committing murder: “Whoever takes a human life shall surely be put to death.”
  • In the New Testament Jesus not only upholds this command not to murder, but takes it one step further by saying, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” (Matthew 5:21-22)

I think it’s pretty clear that God detests murder. As we deduced above, He loves children. It doesn’t take a theologian to put two and two together and conclude that abortion must absolutely break God’s heart. We are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). 1 John 2:6 tells us that “Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” If we are made like God and are called to live like Jesus lived, then it naturally follows suit that what breaks God’s heart should also break our hearts. If Jesus was angered by the apostles not allowing the children to be brought to Him, how much more angry must He be that people are massacring God’s blessings in the womb – what should be the safest place on earth for a baby – and then selling their little organs and body parts for profit?

There needs to be an outcry to God. We need to do all we can to put a stop to this. The time has come for Christians to take a stand and defend those who are unable to defend themselves. Let’s write letters and make phone calls to our Congressmen and Senators. We can stand outside of abortion clinics and offer to pray for the women going in and coming out. Most importantly, we need to talk about this. What will ever be accomplished if we do not speak up?

One day we will all stand before God on the Day of Reckoning. We will have to give an account of our actions, or in some cases, our lack of action. I don’t know about you, but I don’t ever want to stand before the Lord Almighty and have to explain to Him that I was too scared to speak out against the senseless slaughter of His little children. When I think of what Jesus did on that cross for me, I am given all the courage I need to face those who may disagree with me.

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