by Rick Warren — May 24, 2019
“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out” (Proverbs 10:9 NIV).
The test of integrity is that your public life and your private life match—what’s in your heart and what’s in your life are the same thing. You ask yourself, “Would I want everyone to know about this decision that I’m making?” The truth is, when it comes to integrity, even if you can fool everyone else, you can’t fool yourself. And if you violate your own conscience, you have to pay for that.
Sometimes we know we’re about to do the wrong thing. We know we shouldn’t do it, but this thought comes to our mind: “I know I’m doing the wrong thing, but I’m going to go ahead and do it because I know God is a forgiving God.”
Do you think you can do something that God says is wrong and not have consequences in your life? That’s the very reason he doesn’t want you to make that decision—because he loves you, not because he wants to keep you from having fun. God knows there are consequences to every decision. He knows every bad decision leaves scars in your life. And he wants better for you.
Does this mean that God does not forgive us for the wrong things we do? Of course he forgives us. He’s a forgiving and gracious God. But that forgiveness does not free us from the pain and the consequences that come from bad decisions. You can be forgiven and still have regrets. You can be forgiven and still face pain. You can be forgiven and still have a broken relationship.
Romans 14:14 says, “If someone believes it is wrong, then he shouldn’t do it because for him it is wrong” (TLB). This verse simply says that when in doubt, don’t. It’s a violation of the integrity test. Whatever is not from faith in our lives is sin.