Tag Archive | Relationships

Integrity

integrity

This is a topic that hits home. Years ago, when I worked as a church secretary, I was given a book by Chuck Swindoll called “Quest for Character”. I recall it was a very good book, but the chapter that stuck with me was on integrity.

I had never really thought about integrity before then. It was a term I was familiar with, of course, but had never thought about much in relation to my own life. Reading the chapter on integrity did make an impact on me. It has stuck with me 20+ years later.

Over the years since then, the word integrity has popped up from time to time in reading or in conversations or in my own thoughts. And when it does, I often stop and ponder it.

I think to be a person of integrity is one of highest goals of achievement. It doesn’t matter if I am wealthy or successful or have a lot of influence or a lot of friends. To me, the most important attribute I can have is integrity.

Just what is integrity? How do I know if I have it? Well, I’m no expert, but to me it means being totally honest in every facet of life. It means living out your principles whether in business, family, friends, or community. It means being steadfast in what you believe and acting it out in how you behave.

Politicians do not have integrity. Perhaps that is too harsh. There may be some who do, but we all know of politicians who say whatever they think will get themselves elected. Then they do whatever they think will keep them in office and bow to the influential people around them.

I fall short of integrity many times. I’m far from being the kind of person I wish I was. But stopping to consider my life and gauging it against the ideals that are important to me, is one way to get myself back on track.

We all should do that periodically. That is, stop and spend some time alone reflecting on your life and actions. Be willing to readjust if necessary to get yourself moving in the direction you want to go.

Have the courage to admit the truth about yourself, to acknowledge when you’ve failed, or should ask for forgiveness.

We all fall short, but we can all strive for integrity.

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Fighting fair

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”  Ephesians 4:29

I’ve never encountered conflict and anger such as I have over the past few days. And I realize that I have no idea how to fight or spar. I find myself lashing out and using whatever words come to mind. Hurtful, spiteful words that I don’t even mean.

It never occurred to me that there are such things as ground rules in conflicts and arguments. But of course it makes sense. There should be. I’ve just never considered that before until this morning.

Fighting fair is the only way to handle conflict in a relationship. Otherwise, that relationship or friendship or business partnership is going to suffer irreparable damage.

Flinging words that hurt does not accomplish anything toward resolution. If you value the relationship and want to preserve it, it is important to keep words in check. Once spoken, they cannot be taken back.

Face the issues. Talk about how you feel. Don’t bring up a litany of past mistakes. Wear a mouth guard.

You’ll never reconcile differences if you are both on the defensive. Learn to attack issues and not each other. Placing blame will just push you away from each other.

Instead, try to own your feelings and express them without letting them take over. Your feelings are valid. They are yours and no one can dispute them.

The focus is to fight fair so as to come to a quick resolution while keeping the relationship strong.

“They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”  Carl W. Buechner

It takes courage to love

I am reading a book called “One Month to Live” by Kerry and Chris Shook. The idea is to read a chapter a day in a life-changing month. I’m on day 11 and so far some of the chapters have been good, others just so-so.

Chapter 11 was one of the good ones. It is about overcoming obstacles in relationships. Because this topic is close to my heart at this particular time, I found this chapter had some very profound sentences and it made me REALLY stop and think.

It takes courage to love. Normally, I would read over that without giving it much thought. Today I read it slowly and the words really sank in.

Courage to love? Yes! Courage? Yes!!!

I looked up the word courage. The dictionary says courage is the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous. Why would love be difficult or dangerous? Because you don’t know what the other person is really thinking or feeling. So you have to be willing to take a risk. You have to let yourself be vulnerable. You cannot hold back, for if you do, the love will be lost.

You have to love passionately, without abandon. There’s another powerful term…without abandon. It means that you are going to go for something no matter what the cost and regardless of the obstacles.

Yes, it takes courage to love. Relationships are not for wimps.

Relationships are full of miscommunications and misinterpretations, and misconceptions. No matter how well you communicate with each other, these things are bound to happen. We are all human and these are things that happen to humans. All of us, every one. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes. The best relationships are built on forgiveness, because all relationships involve imperfect people who make mistakes.

We have to learn how to compromise and discover creative solutions that meet the needs of both people in the relationship. We have to value the other person enough to seek to really understand them. If we don’t, the relationship could be forever abandoned on a mountain of mistakes and misunderstandings.

The essential for a strong relationship is found in those small loving actions, all the seemingly insignificant things that can mean so much to someone else. When you are inconsistent, telling others how important they are but never following through with loving actions, then the relationship will falter. The clarity and security your loving actions bring to the people around you can’t be underestimated.

How do you communicate your commitment to those you love? Psychologists say that most of us tend to favor one method over the other – we say how we feel but may not show it as much, or we show it consistently, and assume our actions speak for us. I think it is important to discover which way we communicate, understand how our partner communicates, and then practice the other style for a time for extra measure and to show the commitment is strong.

Yes, it takes courage to love. Not to mention hard work.