Growing Up – Step #8 Integrity

Well, in just a short time, we have shown you what you need to be emotionally mature, and now you are about at age 65. This may be considered as retirement age, but according to Eriksen, you aren’t quite ready to veg in front of the TV in your Lazy-Boy, eat bonbons and forget about growing up. The old British psychologist says that this is the time to review your life and perhaps even right some wrongs after you acknowledge them, and ask yourself if you have lived a “good” life.

According to Webster, INTEGRITY means:

Firm adherence to a code of especially moral or ethical principles..

The Thesaurus uses words like: Honesty, Truth, Honor, Reliability, and Uprightness.

Mm.m.m. Don’t you think that these should be qualities taught as a child and molded into the character long before age 65 and onward? I do!

Perhaps Eriksen really meant that the “declining” years should be used for a review of your life, rather than a place you have arrived. I can look back over my life and see times when I did not use my best judgement, when perhaps I put my needs ahead of others, when I spent money foolishly, when I should have been kinder to my children and my husband, etc. So when I see those things, what is my duty, my obligation to do?

Of course I know that God forgives – even before we ask – but human beings usually do not. What should I do about these things? I ask myself, have I sincerely apologized for those wrong doings? Should I ask God’s forgiveness? Should I apologize to those I have wronged?

There is a saying out there that goes something like this: “Every time a teenager opens their mouth, they are lying.” I suppose that is true of some teens, but not necessarily of all. Those who have been taught at an early age that they are loved and accepted, taught to honor God and to live a virtuous life, are usually not liars. Actually, I do know a teen who cannot tell a story without it containing at least one lie. WHY? Teens and others, in my opinion, lie because they are afraid of being demeaned, reprimanded, or rejected. THERE’S THAT REJECTION WORD AGAIN. It keeps popping up, doesn’t it?

INTERESTING . . . We teach that most people live a lie – one that is implanted when we are young. It is fertilized by our experiences and watered by our relationships with others. That lie is at the core of our being, and one we fight against or allow to rule us for most of our lives. The lie is: We have no worth, we have no value. We spend our days trying to cover up that lie with other lies. WHY?

According to the McAllister Network, the world lies because of:

– FEAR – It was Tad Williams who said, “We tell lies when we are afraid… afraid of what we don’t know, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us. But every time we tell a lie, the thing that we fear grows stronger. ”People can be so afraid of what might happen if they told the truth. Maybe they have done something wrong and are afraid of the consequences of their actions, so they lie to cover up what they did. As often said about political scandals: It’s not the crime that gets you in trouble, nearly as much as the cover-up.

– MANIPULATION – Lies are typically motivated by a desire to get other people to either do something or not do something, or to make a decision in the favor of the person doing the lying. Someone might lie to get something they desire such as sex, money, status, power, love, etc. Lori said: “I’m young, but I realized quickly lustful people know how to get what they want, even if it means lying to you about how they feel.” Probably the word love is used in more lies than any other. How often a guy will say to a girl (or vice versa), I love you, simply to get the other person emotionally stirred-up, so they can be more easily manipulated.

– PRIDE – Many times, a person will lie because of pride. They use it for nothing more than a tool to create a favorable image of themselves. This leads to exaggeration, which is a form of lying. Often people will create fascinating, yet completely false, stories to improve their image.

Bottom line: We deceive other people because we think it serves our purposes in some way. And it’s easy!

Scripture tells us: “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight.” Proverbs 12:22

I was going to say that I’d gotten off on a tangent about lying as lack of integrity, and it is one of the behaviors of minimal integrity, but deceitful financial dealings, nasty and hurtful words said to others, etc. are, I suppose, a form of lying. All of this to protect the lie at our core.

As I look at it, older years are for looking back. THEY ARE FOR CHANGING THE LIE TO GOD’S TRUTH – that we have infinite worth and value because we are His children. Our minds by older years are filled with memories – some wonderful and comforting, others painful and disconcerting. I have found, now that I am in that age bracket, that good memories can be relived over and over again, and they bring joy and laughter or tears of joy. Ron and I often speak about the days we traveled from appointment to appointment in our converted bus. We speak about how much we miss it, and wish that we still had it. (I don’t know what for, because we could neither afford it nor be able to drive it) but those are happy memories of being available to help hurting people. I am sure that in our quiet moments we mourn over things we have said or done that could have or did hurt others. We find ourselves apologizing for those times often.

So go ahead, reminisce, apologize, ask for forgiveness, but also look ahead. The senior years are not just for looking back, but for looking forward toward the things that you CAN do, things that would be a blessing to others, things that will keep you from playing the “poor me” game. And believe it or not, those white-hair senior years can be filled with wisdom gained from living close to God and from experiences, positive and negative, that have taught us how to be. Why not pass some of that wisdom on to others. God bless you as you do so!

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