Personal integrity is key to anyone serving in ministry. The sad reality is that those of us in full-time ministry are prone to sin just like all other humans. However, we are also held to a higher standard of accountability, both by our congregations [rightfully so] and by God [also rightfully so].
One of the areas of deep brokenness in our current age is the rampant desire to live without consequences. The word “no” instantly offends, as does the sense that someone is trying to hold us accountable. However, that accountability exists – whether we want it to or not – because we are interdependent. There are areas in each of our lives where we have responsibility, and it doesn’t matter how we feel about it or whether we want that to be the case or not.
When we fail in our areas of responsibility, we lose the trust of those we are responsible to. For instance, one of the fastest ways that someone can lose my trust is to lie to me. We often lie to “defend ourselves,” by the reality is that I put my faith much more readily in someone who owns his or her mistakes [if it’s a flippant “oh, I screwed up, no biggie,” that’s a different issue…] than someone who tries to hide the truth. The willingness to be honest and accept responsibility when we caused an issue – regardless of cost – is an increasingly valuable character trait in a world collapsing in the opposite direction.
“A good name – like goodwill – is got by many actions and lost by one.” – Lord Jeffery