Today, ‘Eddie Everywhere’ can hide nowhere. Eddie McGuire, the football club president, the TV personality, the radio talk show host has vilified – inadvertently, he says – the very same person who a supporter of his own club labelled an ‘ape’ just days ago. He has done it in the very same way. So, how could an experienced media performer act so hypocritically and clumsily and then pass off a brain snap as a ‘slip of the tongue’?
This is where the wearing of multiple hats can create such problems. Integrity demands a consistent approach to life but, when we are relaxing outside our professional role, we often behave somewhat differently (a little less sanctified when not in the sanctuary, so to speak). ‘President’ McGuire relaxed into the role of ‘DJ’ McGuire when, trying to shoot for a few cheap laughs, he misfired badly. When the cameras are always rolling, though, then our integrity is always on show.
And it always is for our audience of one. The God to whom we must one day give an account, even for every idle word that we speak (Matthew 12:36), created us and will one day receive us for judgment. His grace sees Him overlook our faults, though, but only if we humble ourselves before Him. Grace does not apply universally to the unrepentant. When we slip up we can ask God’s forgiveness and know that He erases the video tape of life (1 John 1:9). Saying sorry doesn’t stop many in this life from questioning our motives or revelling in our mistakes, but the God who forgives empowers us to live a better life which is why we can become less sinful and less prone to the harm we subject ourselves to when living lives not dependent upon Him (1 John 5:18).
Former Nixon staffer, Charles Colson, jailed for his part in the Watergate scandal before coming a Christian, learned some lessons about integrity! He once summed up the present problem well when he said, “We must be the same person in private and in public. Only the Christian worldview gives us the basis for this kind of integrity.”