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Sunday, March 19, 2017

A Person of Integrity


The process of divorce, like much of life, is highly unpredictable.  

Even the court process is that way.  I have known times when attorneys entered a courtroom fully convinced that they would win their point, only to be surprised when the judge ruled against them.  I have known of judges who tend to favor the wife, others who favor the husband, and then there are those who seek to be as unbaised as possible.  Those reputations get around, with the result that I have known individuals would file in a different county from their own simply to avoid a biased judge, or to be in a court where the judge’s bias might work in their favor.  So much for blind justice, huh?

But the courtroom is not the only place where guarantees are absent.  In negotiations between a divorcing couple,  sometimes one partner may enter the negotiation in good faith, presenting options and accepting agreements in all good faith, only to discover later that the other party was being less than honest and find they have been duped or cheated.  

You may also be the parent (divorced or not), who tries to teach your children what is right, and do your best to make good choices and be the best parent you can be, only to see your child later turn against you or everything you have taught them.  In divorce, this can even play out where a child will choose to side with a parent who has been dishonest, unfaithful and abusive against one who is really trying to do what is right.  It can be very discouraging.  In fact, it can even make one wonder why it is even worth trying to do what is right, when it all falls apart.

There are innumerable situations in which these kinds of experiences happen.  Promotions at work may be given to those who lie and manipulate, while the honest, hard worker is left high and dry.  Social circles may shun those who are sincere and honest, while favoring others who treat people shabbily or talk about them behind their back.  Fame and fortune is one place you can see this kind of apparent injustice play out.  There are many people considered very “successful” whose behaviors are reprehensible, and yet they are adulated by the masses.   

Does it pay to continue to try to be a person of integrity?

These things remind me of the verse in Matthew 5:45, where God is described as the Father in heaven who, “causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”   The things we observe as the way the world works, simply does not always operate based on the principle of appropriate rewards for good and for evil.  Jeremiah asks the question of God, in chapter 12, of why the wicked prosper, surely out of the context of his own suffering while following God’s leading.  

It is a frustrating experience.  

So why bother?

Well, might I suggest that there are some issues that are easy to overlook?  For example, sometimes doing what you know to be right isn’t really about getting the results you hope you will get so much as it is about being the kind of person you truly want to be.  Choosing to be less than honest, to start acting as if the ends justifies the means, results in your own character being tainted or diminished, and though you may get a particular reward, the price you pay is very high.  In addition, there is the fact that any of these evaluations are very short term.  While things at the time may seem unjust and evil, in the long run, God will make all things right… at the final judgment if not in this world.  Time and again we are encouraged in the scriptures to set our focus on those things that are above, not on the things here on earth.  When circumstances turn against you, it can be hard to look above.

There simply are not guarantees that things will always work out the way we think they OUGHT to be.  But while there are not guarantees like that, I would be remiss to say that there are NO guarantees.  

God guarantees to ultimately honor all those who follow his will and live according to his principles…even if people don’t.  

God guarantees that you never have to go through any of life’s hard experiences alone, for he is always present, whether you sense him or not.  

God guarantees that no deed of service to him and no tear shed by his people goes unnoticed.  

God guarantees that he will give you the strength you need to face whatever comes, if you turn to him and seek it.  

And the nice thing is, God’s guarantees are not just for a lifetime, they are promises for eternity.  

So while you may have to face and accept some things in life that just seem so unfair and so hurtful, don’t fall into the misconception that what you are experiencing is the end of the story.  Ultimately, when all is said and done, when you finally see things from God’s eternal perspective, you will see God make all things right, and realize his way truly was best.

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