The importance of the middle bricks
The integrity of the upright guides them, but the duplicity of the treacherous destroys them. (Proverbs 11:3)
Integrity is having agreement in all the areas of our lives. A hypocrite is one who is a different person behind the mask - they wear that mask and allow everyone to see on the what they want them to see on the outside. Their private lives are much different than their public lives. Whatever directs us on the inside is what is really what gives a man or woman integrity. We are building a life - whatever we put into it will eventually be visible on the outside. Every decision is a brick in that building - we can do right or wrong - each is a brick that adds to the 'integrity' of the building!
At some point, we make compromises. A good question to ask is, "What do your actions say about your integrity?" Our actions really say a lot about the 'bricks' that we put into the building of our lives. We make decisions all the time - some are wildly wrong and others are perfectly right. There are also those that are kind of 'in the middle' decisions - those are sometimes the hardest for us to realize there has been a lack of integrity in those decisions. At some point, those 'middle bricks' will be very important - what we do on the outside is always going to reflect what is happening on the inside.
When you have integrity -nothing else matters. When you don't have integrity - nothing else matters. That may seem a little contradictory, but when we don't have it, we don't really care that we don't. When we do, nothing will get in the way of us maintaining that integrity. David prayed for God to search his heart (Psalm 139) because he knew his heart lied to him all the time - he knew his life might be a little 'compartmentalized' - with areas he kept to himself (his private life). Where we are the most defensive; don't want others to ask questions about; or are the most critical in others about - those are the areas where we likely have some issues with 'integrity bricks'.
Did you know it is harder to regain our reputation when our 'integrity bricks' have been laid through bad decisions in our lives than it was to actually lose that integrity? Integrity is easy to lose, but very, very hard to regain. Whenever there is any lack of integrity in our lives it as though we just 'know' others can see that lack. We do the best to 'white wash' over those 'middle brick' places, but we somehow 'know' those areas look a little different on the outside than the other areas of our lives where we have worked hard to have or maintain integrity. It is like a bad 'stucco' job! You know it is just a patched place.
It seems like a whole lot of effort gets put into the end or corner bricks - because they create the stable point by which the rest of the wall is built. We also pay a great deal of attention to those 'capper' bricks that even off the top row and give the illusion of perfect 'straightness' in the wall. But...the middle bricks matter significantly. If those are haphazardly laid, lacking 'integration' into the full structure of the wall with evenness and straightness, the wall will be flimsy and will eventually reveal the lack of integrity created by that haphazard building. Integrity is what we are on the 'inside' - not just what we reveal on the outside. The 'middle bricks' matter - don't allow compromise to create a mere illusion of integrity. Build your life with integrity through and through. Personal, spiritual, family, career, and social life - all integrated and all wholly focused on Jesus. Just sayin!