«Better is the poor who walks in his integrity Than one who is perverse in his lips» (Proverbs 1 9: l ).
Jeremiah was the son of the priest Hilkiah. He was a Hebrew prophet whose mission was to call the Jewish people, especially its rulers, to repentance. But his reprimanding message did not please is listeners who were accustomed to lies, flatteries, and praises from False prophets (Jer. 23). They were so bothered by his words that «when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the Lord had commanded him to speak. . . the people seized him, saying, ‘You will surely die!’ » (Jer. 26:8); even «the kine sought to put him to death» (v. 21
Think about it: had he flattered the people; he would have made many «friends.» Had he spoken pleasant words, he would have infused hope—or, better yet—false hope to his peers. But _Jeremiah preferred being thrown in prison than hypocrisy, and «eating dirt, more lies. Yes, the prophecy literally was sinking in the silt of the pit where he was thrown. His experiences are registered in the Book of Lamentations: «They silenced my life in the pit and threw stones at me. The waters flowed over my head; I said, ‘I am cut off! ‘ » (Lam. 3:53, 54). In spite of all of this, Jeremiah maintained his integrity and received a visit from God in che pit, and he was encouraged. These are his words: «I called on Your name, O Lord, from the lowest pit. You have heard mv voice . . . . You drew near on the day I called on You, and said, ‘Do not fear!’ D (vv. 53-57).
Many consider themselves righteous for not robbing, fornicating, or being adulterers; nevertheless, integrity is much more than that’s. Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy describes the descent into hell through a hierarchy of sins. As he gets closer to hell, more and more serious sins appear. Oddly enough, following Dance’s logic, an adulterous person is guiltier than a murderer or a tyrant. Nowadays, lies, flatteries, and hypocrisy can be justified by the Darwinian principle of survival. If the end justifies the means, then lying, flattering or seeking friendships out of convenience is justified in order to survive, prosper, and reach the highest level of achievements.
The Bible warns against those who «mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage» (Jude 16); and points out that it is better to suffer for doing what is right—if it is God’s will—than doing what is wrong (l Pet. 3:17).
Undoubtedly, walking with integrity may result in conflicts and problems, but you can rest assured that in the midst of your trials, God •will never abandon you.