Become an Insider

Insiders with God Have Integrity

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Psalm 26:1   …I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.

Proverbs 20:7  The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him!

When I was a sophomore in High School on the east side of St. Paul, Minnesota, I decided to try out for the golf team. It was my first year at that school, so I didn’t know many other kids yet. During the tryout I quickly learned two things – I was an outsider and that insiders do whatever they want to remain on the inside.

The tryout consisted of an 18-hole round of golf, and the top eight scores would make the team. There were nine of us trying out, and it was very clear that the other eight were members of last year’s team. My game was sharp, and the three other guys I was playing with started to show concern for one of their friends who was lagging behind on the scorecard. When we reached the eleventh hole I was ahead of him by two strokes.

The eleventh hole was a par three, with a green that could not be seen from the tee unless you climbed a ladder to a platform positioned next to the tee box. When we arrived at the tee, the group ahead of us was just leaving for the green, and the “friends” talked a few minutes. After about a ten minute wait, we were ready to hit our shots. One of the other guys climbed the ladder to watch the shots. Mine landed just short and right of the green. Then the young man who was behind me took his shot, which angled substantially left.

Suddenly, from the green, hooting and hollering started, and the kid on the platform yelled, “It went in!” But how could it, I thought? It was headed way left. Well according to the “friends” in the group ahead, the ball hit one of their golf bags on the next tee and ricocheted onto the green and into the hole. If you know anything about the structure of lightweight carry bags you know that a ball doesn’t bounce off them very far, and this ball would have had to bounce over thirty yards.

It was obvious to me what had happened, but they stuck to their story, and now I was only one stroke ahead following the mystery hole-in-one. My emotions didn’t respond well, even though I kept it all inside. I ended up losing the match by one stroke and not making the team.

I was reminded of that display of falsehood and hypocrisy when I read the 26th Psalm today. I was reminded of the times I have sought to be an insider and did whatever I thought it would take to stay one. I was reminded of how lonely it can be being an outsider.

But I was also reminded of the emotional pain and suffering I’ve known by trying to become an insider. You see, pleasing people is painful, because they are constantly changing their expectations, which means we have to change our performance. As a result, we never really know who we are. The pain of an identity crisis is far worse than the pain of loneliness. In fact, the perceived solution of becoming an insider by any means actually produces more loneliness and not less, thereby compounding the pain.

King David knew the answer. Four times in this Psalm he proclaims that the answer is integrity.

  • Psalm 26:1 …I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.
  • Psalm 26:6 I wash my hands in innocence…
  • Psalm 26:11 But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity…
  • Psalm 26:12 My foot stands on level ground…

David had made a choice to be an insider with God, not with people. As a result he discovered the steadfast love and faithfulness of the Father. (verse 3) He knew the strength that comes from consistency, (verse 12) and the joy of fellowship available in the habitation of God’s house (verse 8). David discovered that since God is unchangeable, the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, then we can be unchangeable as well if we have our identity in Him.

That’s integrity.

Have you chosen to be an insider with God?

Pastor John

 

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