How do our children act when we are not with them? Wouldn't you like to know? Haven't there been countless times when you would like to have been a fly on the wall at school, at an activity, or even when they are playing alone?
The way that our children behave when we are not watching reveals their integrity. In other words, a person's integrity is at the core of who they are. Obviously, we want our children to have a high level of integrity. We want them to always tell the truth, be polite to others, and never take what does not belong to them.
But how do we teach integrity? Most parents never ask this question. Those that do, unfortunately, focus on the externals. The assumption seems to be that if we just tell them over and over what to do and not do, punish when they mess up, and praise when they do right, they will eventually "get it." That is, the popular approach seems to be to work on the externals and hope this will eventually filter down to the core. Though this may instill some healthy habits, it does not insure integrity. In fact, it may prove to either cause children to rebel or feel extreme guilt for not being able to "measure up."
So if we don't focus on behavior alone, where do we start? The place to begin - the inner core - must be with God. If we want our children to have integrity within, we must teach them to see God; that is, to see and understand his steadfast love and faithfulness for his people. If they know from within that they are loved, integrity will flow out by the way they live.
1 O Lord my God, in you I take refuge;
save me from all my pursuers, and deliver me,
2 or like a lion they will tear me apart;
they will drag me away, with no one to rescue.
3 O Lord my God, if I have done this,
if there is wrong in my hands,
4 if I have repaid my ally with harm
or plundered my foe without cause,
5 then let the enemy pursue and overtake me,
trample my life to the ground,
and lay my soul in the dust. Selah
6 Rise up, O Lord, in your anger;
lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies;
awake, O my God; you have appointed a judgment.
7 Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered around you,
and over it take your seat on high.
8 The Lord judges the peoples;
judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness
and according to the integrity that is in me.
9 O let the evil of the wicked come to an end,
but establish the righteous,
you who test the minds and hearts,
O righteous God.
10 God is my shield,
who saves the upright in heart.
11 God is a righteous judge,
and a God who has indignation every day.
12 If one does not repent, God will whet his sword;
he has bent and strung his bow;
13 he has prepared his deadly weapons,
making his arrows fiery shafts.
14 See how they conceive evil,
and are pregnant with mischief,
and bring forth lies.
15 They make a pit, digging it out,
and fall into the hole that they have made.
16 Their mischief returns upon their own heads,
and on their own heads their violence descends.
17 I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness,
and sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.