Character does matter. We teach our children character traits from the time that they are old enough to understand. A solid character is the foundation of all good things. This also goes for a society, any person or society that is destitute of character is doomed for failure or destruction.
There are many character traits and virtues that contribute to our moral foundation, but the one that stands out to me is the virtue of integrity. Integrity is the one virtue that makes us real, it allows us to live before others in our strengths and weaknesses.
Integrity gives us the courage to celebrate our weaknesses---to live a life of vulnerability and transparency. Think for a second of the people in your journey that you have been attracted to---it would most certainly be those who were real, authentic, the real Mccoy, the real deal.
Now take the time to think of those people you had a natural aversion to; it would have to be those people who were manipulative, counterfeit, ungenuine, and unreal. Integrity frees us from the grip of hypocrisy and sets us free to live our lives in authenticity and truthfulness.
In Philippians 1:10b the Apostle Paul prayed for the Philippians that they would be sincere (have integrity). Let me share this beautiful illustration of the etomology of the word sincerity:
In ancient Rome fine pottery was relatively thin and fragile and often developed cracks while being fired. Unscrupulous shops would fill the cracks with a hard, dark wax, which would be concealed when the object was painted or glazed, but would melt when the pottery was filled with something hot. In ordinary light, the deception was usually undetectable, but when held up to the sunlight it was clearly exposed, because the wax appeared darker. Reputable dealers would often stamp their products sine cera ("without wax") as a guarantee of high quality.
Integrity is a virtue that must be planted in the fertile soil of the soul. Integrity like all virtues proceeds from the inner part of our lives; the Bible calls this inner or secret part of our lives the "heart."
Let me make an application. We must as faithful Christians hold our lives up to the sun light of the Scriptures. We must allow the truth of God's Word to "light up" the dark things in our lives; and we all without question have our dark sides. I'm always reminded of the words of Jeremiah that our "hearts are dark and deceitful" (17:9).
Take the time to allow God's word to shine into those areas of your life where no man dares to tread, yes, it can be painful, but we can start the process of building real lasting authenticity and integrity into our lives.