Read Titus 2
Focus on verse 7-8
About a hundred years ago when I was a teenager, I was chosen/appointed by someone – I do not remember whom – to bear the honor of delivering the sermon during my home church’s annual youth church service. I spent what I thought was a generous amount of time preparing and even wrote up a few notes, which contained everything I knew about the topic I had chosen to preach on. The topic was integrity…the sermon lasted about five minutes…if you count the time it took me to walk up and sit back down. Apparently, I didn’t know all that much about integrity at that point in my life. My guess is it might have had more to talk about if I had chosen to talk about something like sin, since I had a lot more experience with that.
While I still struggle to practice integrity consistently, I have a little better idea of what integrity looks like now that I have had a few more years to practice it. In today’s reading Paul encourages Titus to be a “model of good works” and to teach with “integrity, dignity, and sound speech” so that no opponent will be able to find anything evil to say about him.
Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. (v. 7-8)
I recall hearing my parents talk about the man who for many years was the federal representative to parliament for the district in which we lived in Canada. He apparently had a reputation in Ottawa as one who was squeaky clean…to whom nothing would stick. His opponents would throw all sorts of accusations at him as politicians often do, but very few people would take the accusations seriously because his character was such that people simply did not believe the accusations. They did not believe them because they were inconsistent with the integrity and character of the man.
While I suspect there may still be some politicians like that around, they tend not to get much air time in the media. Apparently that kind of thing is no longer news worthy. Stories of secret scandalous escapades are much more captivating, whether they are true or not, which betrays the lack of integrity that the media itself is putting on display as well.
It would seem that somewhere in the 1960’s or so our culture as a whole began to abandon some of the moral rules that built integrity into our character, two generations later we are beginning to realize what the fruit of those choices looks like. Thankfully, I am seeing some promising signs that seem to indicate that at last some of the younger folks are beginning to see the value of the integrity of their grandparents. I expect they will model that integrity somewhat differently, but if they follow through, I suspect the result will be positive.