Integrity and Perseverance

We were in a beautiful valley with lush tall grass, red flowers, butterflies and singing birds.  The sun was warm, not hot.  My great-grandfather was sitting on a large oak log with me.  “Sis, it’s all about Honor,” he said.  “Be true to yourself.  Always, always honor God. Be your best. Do your best.  Be honorable.”  He kissed me on my forehead and walked away.

I  shot upright in my bed in the dorm.  It was so real.  My chest ached. I cried, no I wept.  Grandpa was dead I just knew it. I breathed deeply and looked at the clock.  6:20.  The ringing phone jolted me out of my well of emotions.

“Sis.”  It was Dad.

“Grandpa is dead isn’t he, Dad?”

“Yes, he passed a few minutes ago.  I’ll call you tonight with more information.”

Grandpa stopped by to see me on his way home.

Twenty years later I discovered that Grandpa stopped by and visited with my cousin, Alan.  They talked about something different.  None of the others shared our experience.

Definitions from Dictionary.com

Honor: honesty, fairness, or integrity in one’s beliefs and actions: a man of honor.

2. a source of credit or distinction: to be an honor to one’s family.

3. high respect, as for worth, merit, or rank: to be held in honor.

4. such respect manifested: a memorial in honor of the dead.

5. high public esteem; fame; glory: He has earned his position of honor.

Integrity: adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

2. the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished: to preserve the integrity of the empire.

3. a sound, unimpaired, or perfect condition: the integrity of a ship’s hull.

Perseverance: steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

2. Theology: continuance in a state of grace to the end, leading to eternal salvation.

OK, Grandpa, why did you come tell me about honor?  Honor is for men and their egos.  Sword fights, pistols at 10 paces, and broken promises.  I’m a woman and women don’t understand what honor means to a man.

Humans don’t understand what HONOR means to God.  Look at the definition: honesty, fairness, or integrity in one’s beliefs and actions.   Notice that honor and integrity have HONESTY at the core of the definition.  One cannot understand honor or integrity without understanding honesty. Honesty is the quality or fact of being honest; uprightness and fairness, truthfulness, sincerity, frankness, freedom from deceit or fraud, and chastity (in an obsolete way…seriously? Obsolete?).

At our core human beings are NOT honest and therefore, we cannot understand honor or integrity.

It takes perseverance to become a people of honor.

I like the idea of integrity as a state of being whole, entire and undiminished.  Did you read the second definition of perseverance?  “Theology: continuance in a state of grace to the end, leading to eternal salvation.”  So if I “stay the course” of being whole with honesty, then, through Jesus Christ I continue in a state of grace to the end.

HUM.

I just gave myself a headache.

God wants me to be a woman of honor, integrity and perseverance. I need to be true to God and thus myself. I need to give God the highest respect and to respect myself.  I need to stick to God’s moral and ethical principles and make them my own.  I need to stay the course no matter what obstacles, brick walls or ignorant people stand in my way.  I NEED to be like JESUS who embodies all these principles, think like Jesus, and love like Jesus thus being in a state of grace unto the end.

OH GOD, make me a woman of HONOR!

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Catherine Cone

Professor of Biology at East Texas Baptist University

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