If nothing else, 2020 pointed out how divided we have allowed ourselves to become.

And there are many reasons for this.

We are easily manipulated. We don’t do research for ourselves. We rely heavily on the biased opinion of our preferred media sources.

There are those who bring the news which only have one mission: to sell their story. For the most part they’re businesses and selling a product. They need to sell their paper, their magazine, their news program or social media account.

When integrity is missing from news gathering and reporting, it falls along very partisan lines. The progressives spin their stories in a way to push their progressive agenda. And the conservatives spin their stories in a way to push their conservative agenda.

When we seek out information from a particular source we need to look for one thing: truth.

I still believe in truth. I believe truth is defined by a standard. I believe Jesus created that standard when He answered this question, “Teacher, which is the most important commandment?”

He replied with, “…Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

As followers of Jesus, the greatest things we can do are love God and love others.

When we love God, we live by His standards. Jesus said, “those who love me, keep my commandments.” Part of keeping His commandments is loving others, taking others into consideration and putting others before ourselves. We do those things by being filled with grace toward others, by offering forgiveness, being kind, patient, by turning the other cheek and considering others better than ourselves.

And we practice these things consistently, without excuse. Despite the political party of another, the sexual preference of another or the hate sent our way from another. Our job is to love.

I encourage all of us who follow Jesus to assess our integrity. Integrity is defined as “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness, firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values.”

Do you maintain integrity as a follower of Jesus? Do you adhere to honest and strong moral principles, moral uprightness and a code of moral values?

Because it seems that many followers of Jesus abandon these values of love, mercy and grace when it comes to dealing with people with whom we disagree.

We forget our Christian integrity.

What if we remembered our Christian integrity as we consume information? What if we asked ourselves if this information meets our standard of integrity? And, if it doesn’t, we refused to continue to consume it or pass it on.

We could help eliminate the market for falsified information that fuels so much of the division and hatred we witness in our society.

Within the Christian culture, it seems that it has become more important to be right than to be kind. This shouldn’t be so.

I think the majority of the division coming from those of us who claim to follow Jesus would cease overnight, if we just remembered to be people of integrity.

Joey Haynes is a follower of Jesus, married way out of his league, has two of the coolest children in the universe and is blessed to work with an amazing community of believers known as The Church at Rome.

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