The adorable, small, A-frame house had recently been remodelled. By its structure and size, it appears to have been built circa 1940, and whether this was the first remodel or the tenth was anyone’s guess. As I walked through the back entrance, I noticed the door had been freshly painted, yet hung at an uneven angle, leaving a gap on one side of the bottom of the doorframe, with another gap on the top, opposite corner. I found that curious. Why would they re-hang a lop-sided door, without either adjusting the frame or fixing the door? From the landing inside the door, I took a step up into the kitchen, which had new cabinetry, countertops, and sink. The walls were freshly painted in a contemporary color; a fashionable curtain hung in front of the window. How lovely! I thought as I took in the quaint area. When I asked for the garbage can to throw something away, I was directed to open the cabinet door under the sink. Imagine my surprise when I opened the door to find the old structure of the cabinetry underneath, with a filthy space that had years of dirt and grime built up. The door I held onto had merely a frame that stuck out and away from the older piece by two inches. This is all a facade!? I was extremely disappointed, and immediately the small kitchen had lost its charm. Moments later, using the restroom, the entire toilet paper holder had fallen out of the wall when the roll was pulled. Then, while drying my hands, one end of the towel bar fell off. Who remodelled this place? Is everything this chintzy here, even though it appears new? Walking through the few remaining small rooms, other similar flaws were noticeable. It was obvious that the job had been done quickly, not well, and for the sole purpose of pleasing the eye. There was neither soundness nor sincerity behind the veneer. This house lacked integrity, and it didn’t take long to see past its pretense.
Judge me, O Lord…according to my integrity. Psalm 7:8
The psalmist says to God, “Judge me according to my integrity.” What a daring prayer! By it he invites God to look at him, to see him inside and out, and to pass a verdict on whether he only looks good or is good. It is a prayer every preacher, pastor, missionary, and Christian worker should dare to pray. How’s your personal life, preacher? Have you neglected your wife and kids, pastor? Hey missionary, are your watching porn because you have no accountability partner? What’s with the double standard, Christian worker? We can look so good to others. Our sermons move people. The hospital visits are appreciated. Our newsletters tell victorious stories. We are a blessing to the church. But we don’t pray, “judge me according to my integrity,” even though we know God can see past the exterior we show, or show off, to others. He sees our insincerities and our indecencies. He knows how quickly we’ve thrown together our spiritual foundations. He also knows how quickly they’ll crumble when put to the test. It’s time to take that risk. Do yourself, and the world around you, a favor by asking God to judge you according to your integrity. I did, not without pain. Now I dare you.