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The Value of Integrity by Rev. Christine Emmerling DD 3/3/2024

We’re continuing with the series for Lent based on our core values. Today its about our integrity. Let’s look at the word “Integrity” I’ll start with the definition from Webster’s Dictionary: “1) the quality or state of being complete; unbroken condition; wholeness; entirety. 2) the quality or state of being unimpaired; perfect condition; soundness.

3) the quality or state of being of sound moral principle; uprightness, honesty and sincerity.”

The qualities of integrity for the purposes of my talk today are wholeness, Oneness, complete and principled; being true to our Christ or God Self.

I have a beautiful mosaic butterfly lamp in my room. Its made of many pieces of colorful glass. When its light is turned on the colors are vibrant. Now if I dropped this piece of art work it would shatter into many pieces and no longer be sound, whole and beautiful. It lost its integrity. Now we could piece this lamp back together to regain its integrity. This reminds me of how people are viewing life through the many pieces of this broken lamp. Fractured we experience pain, suffering and lack. But when we bring the pieces back together, then we experience our wholeness, oneness, and integrity; we experience love, joy, health and wealth. Our life comes all together.

Another example is in this story. It happened in the summer of 1805. A number of Indian chiefs and warriors met in council at Buffalo Creek, New York to hear a presentation of the Christian message by a Mr. Cram from the Boston Missionary Society. After the sermon, a response was given by Red Jacket, one of the leading chiefs. Among other things, the chief said:

“Brother, you say that there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit. If there is but one religion, why do your white people differ so much about it? Why not all agree, as you can all read the Book?

“Brother, we are told that you have been preaching to the white people in this place. These people are our neighbors. We are acquainted with them. We will wait a little while and see what effect your preaching has upon them. If we find it does them good, makes them honest and less disposed to cheat Indians, we will then consider again of what you have said.” Chief Red Jacket wanted to see if they were honorable people who walked their talk. He was asking for integrity.

Nona Brooks, co-founder of Divine Science of Denver would say, “My power is my integrity.” The first time I read this, I was somewhat puzzled by what she meant, and had to stop and think upon the words “My power is my integrity.”

Then it came to me how she was healed by affirming and truly seeking the truth of Omnipresence, God everywhere present, for herself. Following Nona’s healing through the realization of truth, she taught this same truth and practices to those who came to her. Nona became a witness to their healing - their revealed wholeness.

When we understand who we are, being who we are, and acting who we are -- then we are in our power — we are being in agreement with our true nature. This true nature is our God-Self. We begin with understanding our God-Self, that part of us that is whole, perfect, intelligent, loving, creative, joyful, harmonious and peaceful. Then we give life to our true self — in our inner thoughts and feelings. Our actions follow in deeds of love and service. We are now being congruent with our beliefs in thought, word, and action - mind and heart are aligned.

Nona reminds in Powerful is the Light, “One who wants to live the Christ Life, is to keep the faith; be consistent; practice integrity; keep up the simple practice of affirming the Presence moment to moment.”

We start with our foundation, our true understanding of Self. I’m reminded of the story of “The 3 Little Pigs” and their houses built with straw, sticks and brick. How easily the wolf was able to blow down the houses of straw and sticks. But the house of brick withstood all his hard blowing.

This is true for us — what is our house of consciousness, our core beliefs built upon. Do our beliefs support who we are, or are they fragile like the straw that easily falls down and scatters with the wind — allowing us to be victim to the conditions of the world?

Are our beliefs rigid like the sticks that when put to test easily snap apart, not allowing for new insights, or ways of doing things and seeing life? Or are our beliefs like the bricks, solid, sound, and withstands the test of time? Truth Principle (with a capital “T”) never changes — it is eternal, and will always apply and uphold.

Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus says, “Therefore whosoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock.

And every one that hears these sayings of mine, and does them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell; and great was the fall of it.”

Are the beliefs we hold, is where we put our faith sound, solid as a rock, based upon eternal Truth that will meet the tests — our storms of life? Are we firmly grounded in our beliefs, do we practice and live by them? Or are they ever shifting, ready to crumble at the first sign of a powerful storm or an earthquake?

From Powerful is the Light Nona Brooks, says,“How I do dislike the long-faced, pious attitude. We’re not being good when we practice these truths. We’re merely being practical. We’re doing the very best thing that we can possibly do for ourselves.” “It is not a religion we are making but a way of life...” “It is as real as that. The practice of Omnipresence is more than devotion, more than a lifted consciousness. It is a daily, matter-of-fact experience of reality.”

Then from Ephesians 4:15 “Speak the truth in the Spirit of love.” A guideline to follow before speaking is to first ask is it true, is it helpful, is it kind, and is it necessary. If it doesn’t pass the test, then just let it go. Integrity is aligned with love in thought, word and action.

Being true to self, may be difficult at times, but it is always less painful in the long run. Many years ago a friend told me, “those that don’t like to confront always do a lot of damage.” I thought about this for some time, and realized its truth. The worst hurts have been from lack of communication, from not being up front, and manipulation behind the scenes.

Some people would rather sidestep the issue, by ignoring or pretending it didn’t happen. Then, later on explode over the smallest incident. People will manipulate behind people’s backs to avoid the issue at hand.

Avoidance never solves anything. It just keeps coming back in some form to be worked out in a higher way. This kind of behavior can be painful to everyone involved including ourselves. When we defile ourselves of who we are, we become disconnected from our integrity — with our wholeness and true self.

There are people who are compelled to tell their version of truth about us and the world. And, its usually pretty harsh and not nice. Their truth is like seeing through dark sunglasses - everything is distorted. They are seeing life through their filter of false perceptions. Unable to see the true light, the beauty, that is really right before them, instead it is veiled by fear, by their sense of separation from God and everyone.

How many of us tell lies about our true nature by claiming non truths. This happens so easily, just by attaching the words “I am” before a claim, as in I am sick, I am stupid, I am poor, I am this or that condition. This violates our integrity of who we are in truth. The words “I am” are filled with power, therefore we want to only empower ourselves with the truth of our Being.

We may be experiencing a passing flu, a lapse in memory, or lack of funds, but that is not who we are in truth. These are only temporary conditions that have no foundation in truth of an everywhere present all powerful, all loving, all intelligent God. Let us affirm: Regardless of the appearance I am whole, complete, and perfect as God created me to be. So it is!

Where do we put our faith? Faith in the outer world of appearances that is always changing and threatening to our physical well being. Or, do we have faith in the invisible world, and trust our inner voice saying, “Everything is alright - all is good!”

Whenever we feel let down by others or our self, it is because we have put our faith in the outer appearances. We have looked outward for our good. We have put our faith in other people. This opens us up to be disappointed. Instead go within and look to God - our rock, our foundational Principle of Omnipresence. Realize that God is working through us and through other people. Trust this is so without a doubt. But if for a moment we have forgotten and put our faith in the outer personality or appearance, we then have separated ourselves in consciousness from our good — from God - our integrity.

Thank goodness we can immediately reclaim and realign ourselves in Truth. Its that simple for God never abandons us, we have only forgotten the truth of who and what we are as being one with God. Through healing prayer we remember and affirm what is true of us.

Judge not by appearances but righteously. This is the basis of all Truth healing. In Divine Science we hold to the truth of the Divine Presence which is everywhere equally present, whole perfect without a flaw. We see beyond the appearance, knowing the truth of God — to the integrity of the person, the spirit within - which is whole, sound and perfect.

When we speak, we are speaking from our Christ Self to their Christ Self which knows the truth, since we are truly one in spirit, we come into agreement, which is then realized and made manifest — harmony is restored. The Truth is revealed as wholeness. It is God’s Presence within us that does the healing work and restores to its true natural state.

We are reminded that whatever is true of God, is true of all mankind, these are our inherencies because God is expressing through and as its creation. It is God as mankind, as earth, as animals, as plants, as food, as water and air. Therefore we are wisdom in action, knowledge in action, understanding in action, power in action, life in action, joy in action, and love in action. All creation is Spirit in Action.

I’ll close with the following by Nona Brooks, “God is everywhere; therefore God is here. What God is, is everywhere, therefore what God is, is here.” Meaning everything around us, including our self -- is Holy Divine Spirit-Substance. When we are in our integrity, we are in our wholeness and power. We can truthfully say “My power is my Integrity.” So it is!

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