Proverbs 23:23 says ‘Buy the truth and do not sell it‘. Interestingly, the type of truth being referred to here is not doctrinal accuracy (important as that is) but rather integrity of character. It’s easy to be a person of principle when it’s convenient and popular. But what about when it’s not? Our response in times like this reveals much about our heart, our character, our convictions and the extent to which we truly believe in what’s right.
Sometimes, integrity means you have to stand up for what’s true and pay a price for it. This can involve being misunderstood or even the loss of a friendship. If you’ve ever experienced this, you’ll know only too well just how painful it can be. But no-matter what, truth is no respecter of persons. It would be disingenuous to compromise what’s right in order to accommodate and even defend what’s wrong, especially when it involves a toxic behaviour that has the potential to do damage to others. Where would the love and principle be in that?
As local church pastors, Lydia & I know something about this cost. There have been times in our own leadership when we’ve seen the harm of certain behaviours toward others and have had to graciously confront them, engaging in challenging conversations. Sometimes these have been received humbly with understanding of heart and motive. However, other times they’ve not gone so well and the result has been anger, bitterness and even hatred. Yes, church leadership is tough – and anyone who ever says it’s not has clearly never felt the weight of real leadership. But in the end, what’s important is to act with grace and integrity. We love our church community and as shepherds, we’ll always pay the price in order to protect what’s right. It’s what shepherd’s do.
Question is…when it comes to integrity, what price are you willing to pay? Proverbs 23:23 encourages us to ‘buy’ the truth. Then when you’ve bought it, don’t sell it. It’s too valuable for that.