Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out. ~Proverbs 10:9
The integrity of the upright guides them,
but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them. ~Proverbs 11:3
Proverbs are truths in a general sort of way; they do not work every time–sometimes the crooked gets away with the goods. But, in general, they describe life.
I am a John Wooden fan, and he is a man who walked in integrity. John Wooden was born in the Midwest, liked the Midwest, and wanted to stay forever in the Midwest. And he would if the University of Minnesota called him before the deadline, but they did not. So, in 1948, John Wooden agreed to go west to Westwood, leaving his beloved Midwest to coach the UCLA Bruins, a team that had three winning seasons in the previous 17 years and finished last last season.
Then Minnesota called, something about a snowstorm knocking out communication. They had tried to call before the deadline. It was a good honest excuse–it snows a lot in the Midwest. The job is yours, they said. Can you come? But John Wooden had given his word to UCLA.
O Lord, who shall may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?
He who keeps his oath
even when it hurts. ~Psalm 15:1, 4
John Wooden would never return to the Midwest. He stayed at UCLA, and for the next 27 years, UCLA did not have a losing season. The final twelve seasons under Wooden, UCLA collected 10 NCAA Championships. How? Coaching, discipline, determination, talent. But it began with integrity. A man kept his word.
Creator, by Your Word all things came into existence. You speak and it happens. Your Son is Your Word to this world. When we see “The Word,” Jesus, we see You because You are One: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
God, may my word be as true. May I speak without duplicity. May I always keep my word. You said I must walk in Your Word. Your Word is truth. If I am to be like You, God, then my word must be truth, as well.