Your “integrity gap”?

Many of us flippantly give our ‘word’. “Honey, I’ll take the bins out” … and it doesn’t happen; or “don’t worry, I’ll walk the dog later” … and it gets dark and doesn’t happen.

Nowadays it’s pretty rare to find someone who keeps their word, irrespective of the circumstances, without a reminder, warning or threat. People who walk their talk and do what they say without being nudged are very hard to come by. In our hyper-connected world it seems as if there’s orders of magnitude more stuff going on, and hence more to get in the way and distract us.

We let it distract us and then when we fall victim there’s always certainly some kind of excuse. “… this came up”, or “… that came up”. There’s no doubting that something came up, but the question is whether you allowed it to? And when you allowed it to you give the message to the victim that whatever it was was more important.

It’s because of this that we now have the ‘integrity gap’ or ‘credibility gap’. People with widening credibility gap often end up being referred to as ‘flaky’; they can’t be relied upon. No longer is the whites of their eyes good enough, or the shake of a hand, or the written text, or the voice “I’ll be there”.

In a modern world where norms are changing by the day, the Bible is the only unwavering, uncompromising truth that does not bend or shake with society’s fickleness. Whether a Christian believer, or not, some very relevant verses from it include:

• Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbour.

• It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it.

• When a man . . . takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.

We all aim to please. So often we agree to things that we can’t fulfil. We all make mistakes … and that’s ok. But how do you recover from them; clean up your mess? Do you 100% own up to it?

When you fail to live up to your word, you’ve let the other person down. Your apology cannot be on your terms. Do you quickly and unconditionally submit and admit your failure? Or do you apologise rambling on about “… how you were just trying to [•]”. In which case there is no submission.

The key takeaway is be aware when you are giving your word. To your spouse, children, friends, family, coworkers. And then own it. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. Don’t forget. And when you do have a mess to clean up, do it with humility:

1. Acknowledge that you didn’t keep your word.

2. Ask how it made them feel (about you not keeping your word). Allow them to vent or express themselves.

3. Make an authentic, heart-felt apology.

4. Re-promise or re-commit to whatever it is that you are able to keep your word on (or this time be more realistic about whether you can actually deliver).

By Safari

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