“If I have cheated…I will pay back.” Lk 19:8 NIV
Zacchaeus got rich by taking more taxes from people than his Roman masters demanded, and pocketing the difference. But after he met Jesus, he said, “If I have cheated people…I will give them back four times as much!” (NLT). Consequently, Jesus said, “Salvation has come to this home today” (v. 9 NLT). Integrity isn’t about regret, or seeking to minimize painful consequences, or attempting to do damage control. It’s about honest repentance, making amends, and living in a way that guarantees you’ll do things differently in the future. Writing about integrity, one pastor says: “People look around them at promiscuity, abortion, sexually transmitted diseases, and mourn its passing. They see officials taking bribes, business leaders demanding kickbacks, investors parlaying inside information into untold wealth, and they lament the demise of integrity. They read about battered wives, jobless husbands, and abused children, and wonder what happened to caring.” The Bible says, “The integrity of the upright shall guide them” (Pr 11:3). Rebuilding your integrity means humbly acknowledging that sometimes your thoughts aren’t fit to print, or that you’ve hurt someone and need to make things right. It’s estimated that 50 percent of American Christians cheat on their tax returns; that’s roughly the same percentage as those who don’t claim to follow Christ! Integrity is who you are when nobody’s looking. Job said, “Does He not see my ways?…If I have walked with falsehood, or if my foot has hastened to deceit, let me be weighed on honest scales, that God may know my integrity” (Job 31:4-6 NKJV). Starting today, rebuild your integrity.