23. Bouncing on the Bed

BOUNCING ON THE BED

 A boy was happily jumping on his parent’s bed. Mom and dad were out for the evening, so he was being cared for by his grandmother. Obviously she was a bit concerned when she saw what he was doing.

With a stern look on her face she asked, “Are you allowed to jump on your parent’s bed like that?”

Innocently her grandson replied, “Sure,…… as long as they don’t see me!”

Unfortunately a lot of us live our lives just like that. As long as we don’t get “caught”, we find ways to cut corners, rationalize our choices, or make excuses for our behavior. Compromising one’s values and moral standards is a dangerous practice. At the very best it’s a “slippery slope” that will lead us to places we would have never imagined we would end up.

Ask any addict how they got to where they are and they will tell you a story of little compromises that led to bigger compromises, more excuses and a growing ability to rationalize their actions because of their current situation. The same is true for most criminals, those who get involved in prostitution or pornography, and almost anyone struggling with a negative personal habit, behavior issue, or moral failure.

There’s no shortage of examples for us to consider. Just ask Tiger Woods how he ended up on the front pages of virtually every newspaper in the country for all the wrong reasons a few years ago at the height of his career. And while we may not be as visible as the “Tiger Wood’s” of the world, compromise and rationalization is no less of a danger to those of us who are just average, normal, hard-working folks……even if we do call ourselves a Christian.

One of the best things we can teach our children is the importance of establishing their values and standards in advance. Life will come at us with unexpected speed. When we least expect it we will be faced with a “slippery slope” situation where our choices will be tested. By making some decisions in advance we will have a ready answer. Relying on situational ethics is a recipe for disaster.

Remember, no matter how many excuses we can come up with for our behavior, others around us can usually see right through our rationalization. The reality is, they know – whether we know that they know or not! The can see through the facade of smoke and mirrors we put up to cover the compromises we’ve made. We certainly can fool some of the people some of the time, but we need to come to grips with the fact that we can’t hide from the choices we make. Sooner or later others will know who we really are and how phony our excuses may be.

Someone has said that “integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching”. Integrity is a personal trait that is as visible by its absence as it is by its presence. If we are to be people of integrity, we must establish our values and beliefs in advance, and then consistently living out those choices in our daily routine.  If we’re more worried about getting “caught” than doing what is “right”, then we are setting ourselves up for a tremendous fall.

There have been plenty of times in my life when I was that little boy bouncing on the bed……as long as mom and dad didn’t see me!  I’ve cut my share of corners, made a few compromises, and got away with it.  But that’s not the kind of person I desire to be.  I want to do the right thing for the right reason……ALL THE TIME!

Is that easy?  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  Of course not!!  There are plenty of opportunities to “bounce on the bed” in almost every area of life.  And, I think I can safely say I could probably make those choices and not “get caught” the vast majority of the time.  Cheating a little on my taxes, watching something on TV I shouldn’t watch, holding bitterness or a grudge in my heart, saying something behind someone’s back, making up a little “white lie” to get out of something I didn’t want to do, refusing to share my resources with someone in need, responding in anger to someone who didn’t do what I expected, and a million more things.  The enemy doesn’t seem to have any trouble coming up with ideas to try to trip me up!!

The only solution I have for this dilemma is to stay in close communication with God so that I understand He’s watching over me. It’s a lot harder to “jump on the bed” when you know He’s watching!!  The closer I am to Him, the less trouble I seem to have in being a person of integrity. And in case you misunderstand, I don’t see Him as the “Big Killjoy in the Sky” just trying to spoil my fun!  Rather, I know, like my parents used to do when I was jumping on the bed, He’s looking after my best interest so that I don’t “hurt” myself. After all these years, I think I finally get it!!

Let me challenge you to live a life of integrity and help us that type of  lifestyle to the next generation.

 

Getting Honest with the Man in the Mirror!