Put the matches down

Integrity is what you do when no one’s watching. 

My 8th grade English teacher, Ms. Blackmon, taught me that definition. 

She gave us an example too. 

You’re all alone on a stretch of country road late at night. You approach a red light and no one’s around. Do you run it? Or wait for it to turn green? 

Your decision, she said, is the true measure of your integrity. 

This little story has always stuck with me. During times of temptation I catch myself. 

What about my integrity?

We’ve all had friends and family fail–and not the ones we expected either. 

They were so nice!

Their lives seemed so perfect!

What you do, who you are when no one’s looking really matters. 

I think that’s why sincerity is such a hot commodity these days. 

“Just be real,” we say, “Be honest about your struggles.”

I’m all for it too! Goodness knows that I screw up a lot. 

But we need to be careful. 

Asking others to be sincere means we can’t burn them at the stake.

This is true when a friend or relative makes a mistake or even expresses an opinion that differs from your own. 

Self-righteous witch hunts are what drive people to wear masks. 

The root of integrity–and all good character for that matter–starts when no one’s looking. 

Maturity is a process, so don’t hide your struggles. 

And, lastly, don’t be so quick to strike a match. 

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