Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. They came to him and said,”Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Mark 12:13,14 b NIV
Isn’t it amazing that even when people do underhanded things, trying to undermine or sabotage a person’s reputation, by their words they actually confirm truth about the person they are attacking, and reveal truth about themselves?
In a recent event, I was attacked when by an individual who provoked a commentary about their work ethic in a volunteer organization. They had deluded themselves into believing they were actually, “doing the best they could,” and when I refuted that statement, they wanted to know–specifically–what I thought they should be doing. My response was–show up at meetings and do their job–reading the information already provided so they would know their job. Their response–“This is a volunteer group–nobody is paying me.” And later, “That’s your standard and since everyone has their own standard, no one has to work to yours.” That’s very true.
Though they did not realize it when they said it, that was truly a high compliment. I do have high standards–being paid or not–a standard of excellence and “doing my best” means I know what I’m supposed to be doing because I actually read the instructions and attend scheduled meetings. After being associated with non-profit ventures for over 20 years, not being paid for 15 years, I have a clue about how things should be done. And the first thing that anyone should understand about a non-profit is its purpose and intent and the organizational structure. For without order, there is chaos and constant misunderstandings and instead of moving forward, people are left in a rut.
Those who came to see Jesus didn’t really want an answer to their question, but they recognized His integrity–not being swayed by others who did not know truth. They were simply trying to trick him into committing treason against Caesar.
In so many other situations in life, we may discover that people have been sent to us, to commit treason against truth. But how wonderful it is when truth–is stated in the mouths of those who seek to defame and destroy–for all to hear.
Now, I can imagine that if they had known the truth and what Jesus was going to say, they never would have approached Him, in a public forum. Sometimes, if we’re not sure of the end results, we might want to say certain things to people, privately. For when the truth is known about a person and it is understood–in a public forum–the person doing the attacking–also reveals truth about themselves. In the case of the meeting I referenced earlier, the person attacking me revealed, they don’t plan to do any of the work because they are not getting paid and a volunteer position is not worth their time and commitment.
I wanted to ask why they were there since they felt that way, but Holy Spirit told me to be quiet. Now, I wonder why anyone would accept a position as an officer of a non-profit–knowing in advance there was no monetary payment (just personal gratification in knowing we make a difference) and simply become a space filler (just holding a position, not honoring it).
So, when I read this passage of scripture this morning, I was reminded of that conversation and hence the question arose, “Do people know we have integrity?” According to the scriptures, they will know when they see us not being swayed by others who do not operate in truth or integrity themselves.
We, who believe God, know Truth–and we understand that all things must be done, decently and in order. When we think we can undermine those who operate in truth, the truth about ourselves is revealed and now–everyone knows the truth–about all.
Lord, help us to be people of integrity, honoring You and positions we hold–living up to the expectation and requirements to get the job done, without being persuaded by others to do anything else, but to do all things that please You.