Officials in Philadelphia were astonished to receive a letter and payment from a motorist who had been given a speeding ticket in 1954. John Gedge, an English tourist, had been visiting the City of Brotherly Love when he was cited for speeding. The penalty was $15, but Gedge forgot about the ticket for almost 52 years until he discovered it in an old coat. “I thought, I’ve got to pay it,” said Gedge, 84, who now lives in a nursing home in East Sussex. “Englishmen pay their debts. My conscience is clear.”
This story reminded me of the psalmist David’s commitment to integrity. Although he made some terrible choices in his life, Psalm 101 declares his resolve to live blamelessly. His integrity would begin in the privacy of his own house (v.2) and extend to his choice of colleagues and friends (vv.6-7). In sharp contrast to the corrupt lives of most kings of the ancient Near East, David’s integrity led him to respect the life of his sworn enemy, King Saul (1 Sam. 24:4-6; 26:8-9).
As followers of Jesus, we are called to walk in integrity and to maintain a clear conscience. When we honor our commitments to God and to others, we will walk in fellowship with God. Our integrity will guide us (Prov. 11:3) and help us walk securely (10:9).
Lord, cleanse my heart of all deceit
And teach me to be true;
Help me to have integrity
In all I say and do. —Sper
There is no better test of a man’s integrity than his behavior when he is wrong.