Integrity. It’s a word that word in the church that is the outflow of a life defined by Jesus Christ. He is the one whose own integrity we aim to imitate. In so many ways, we often fall short.
Integrity. It’s also a word that Christian guys hear over and over again at camps and retreats. This is more than appropriate because it’s a word that often fails to find actualization. Men sometimes fail to live up to the purity to which they are called. Another word, integrity’s nemesis, lust, creeps in. Another word, accountability, is key for managing temptations that come into our lives. Without it we allow lust to dictate actions that corrupt our calling as men to live up to a standard worthy of the women in our lives.
Over the past week, the reminder that integrity matters came as we watched Congressman Weiner deny and then confess to inappropriate interactions with 6 women over the past few years via social media. This revelation serves as no surprise for most of us, because we live in a day where such actions are expected – almost more than they are a shock. This should sadden us.
What I’ve been thinking about as this story broke is that Internet integrity matters. Now, more than ever, the web functions as a web of relationships. So called “web 2.0” is about information to be sure, but it’s the kind of data that’s collected socially. For instance: I write a blog post. You read it. You comment. I interact. You then post it to your Facebook wall or Twitter accounts either conveying: “I love this!” or “This guy is off his rocker!” Then others read it and compare it to other bloggers or writers they are familiar with. Then they comment. I interact. By the end of just one post, the real possibility is that folks from all over the world have become part of my single blog article.
What happens if someone says something rude on my blog and I come back with web enraged word vomit? I have traded integrity for arrogance and have done so “in front” of all who will read that post. Unfortunately, this has happened on a few occasions, and for this I am truly sorry. Integrity fail. Usually, if I recognize it, I go back to the comment or do whatever I can to make amends. Disagreeing is fine, acting out of pride is not. Anyway, the point here is not that I need to “get something off my chest” but to simply point out that in the era of “web 2.0,” accountability is natural and public. Perhaps a positive feature of “web 2.0” is exactly that for those who would seek it, accountability is built into the infrastructure of social media.
Integrity. It’s a word that isn’t reflected in Congressman Weiner’s recent actions. This married man allowed lust to lead to poor judgment. But, eventually, the system of social media led to his ‘sins being found out.’ Why? Because that is the nature of “web 2.0.” It’s social and therefore, what you do on the web can and often will be traced back to you. May this be a reminder that what we do on the web matters. It matters to our relationships with people both on and off line. It matters to our connection with God. And it matters to for our own wholeness and integrity.
Not all of us will struggle with Internet porn or issues connected to lust, but our integrity will be tested with every comment we make… every article we write… every tweet… every status update… every friend request… every direct message… every single thing we do online can affect the integrity that God wants to build within us. May we use the web in a way that helps us to “…grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ” (Ephesians 4.15). This is the epitome of seeking integrity.
 Yes, I realize that the opposite is true as well. Ladies have similar issues that can be a struggle as well.