(An excerpt from Cultivating Love: When Secrets Surface by Dr Ken McGill)
“Teacher, we know you are a man of Integrity (Alethes; also the word for Truth)” Matthew 22: 16 (NIV)
God also places great value in our ability to integrate knowledge or what we have learned “into a whole” (like we are assembling puzzle pieces) in order for us to “see the whole picture” and in the process, to understand the relationship(s) and connection(s) between all things (Colossians 1:15–17; Colossians 1:28–29). Applying the Knowledge principles discussed in You will Know the Truth (Part 2 of 3) means you have gathered relevant data, made sense of it and it has informed your thought process to ensure that nothing integral has been left out. Integrity defines, describes and is the result of your behavior that demonstrates that you understand your responsibility to correct any offensive, harmful, abusive or traumatic behavior with behavior that facilitates reconciliation (defined as laying aside wrath and imparting peace) for your healing and for the healing of others.
As mentioned above, the New Testament Greek word for Truth is the same word as Integrity (Alethes). What follows are words that are derived from Integrity, which when integrated with Knowledge, prompts you to eliminate damaging and violent behavior (done to yourself or to others) and simultaneously prompts you to focus on delivering edifying and mature behavior, again to yourself and to others, consistently.
1. Integer: Integers are whole numbers. In relation to the Truth, you work to see the whole picture (versus convenient parts of it), and you labor to disclose or integrate the whole truth (versus fractions of it). Denial, justification, your anger and other cognitive distortions and ego defenses may cause you to fractionate and “split off” critical and factual information you may need in your effort to obtain a complete picture of your situation. Cognitive distortions and distortions of reality are evident when people acknowledge only ¼, ½, or ¾’s of the total picture, and dissuade others from seeing and integrating other relevant data. Understand that others close to you are waiting to see if you will work to “see the whole picture,” as evidenced by your ability to incorporate key pieces of data (from exercising knowledge) into your decision making which ultimately results in you becoming a safe and trustworthy person. What critical piece(s) have you still not gotten that will help you to see your partner’s perspective more clearly? What crucial part(s) continue to be left out of the equation? There is a saying in the AA Big Book that reminds us that “half measures avail(ed) us nothing,” however, Knowledge of the (whole) Truth helps us to be free (John 8:32).
2. Integral: Integral means “nothing essential is lacking.” In relation to the Truth, we speak the Truth, and we don’t leave out Love. We verbalize victimization, but we also incorporate legitimate options for repair. We hold others accountable for their actions and we become accountable for ours as well. In order to facilitate problem solving or reconciliation, what essential ingredient(s) or integral behaviors need to be Added, because something critical is needed, but currently it is not in the picture, Augmented, because some part of a solution is present, however it needs to be developed, or Eliminated, because some current or existing behavior is hindering your problem solving process? In order to obtain healthier outcomes in one or all of the 7 Core Areas of your Life (Spiritual, Cognitive, Emotional, Physical/Biological, Sexual, Social/Relational and Environmental) what integral changes do you need to consider making (i.e., add empathy, develop listening skills, eliminate resentment)?
3. Integrate: Integrate means to bring together or incorporate (parts) into a whole. In relation to the Truth, we bring together knowledge we have gleaned in our conversations (with God, with our spouse, from counsel with our Therapist and counsel from within: our Conscience) and we integrate negotiated and critical behaviors to transform our circumstances one day at a time. Practically, what this means is that in my recovery, I integrate meetings; With my children, I integrate recreation; With my spouse, I integrate devotion; In my work, I integrate breaks; With my narcissism, I integrate humility; With my anger, I integrate containment; With my addiction, I integrate boundaries; With my pain, I integrate help; With other people, I integrate safety; In my Life, I integrate purpose; In my Spirit, I integrate God. In order to achieve reconciliation, what critical parts do you need to integrate in order to see the whole (picture)?
4. Intact: Intact speaks to being complete and whole, but it also infers to not be altered, broken, impaired, changed or diminished. In relation to the Truth, we bring strength and integrity (2 Corinthians 12:9; Philippians 4:13) to that which was weakened, if not broken altogether. We also labor to honor, protect and keep our physical, emotional, marital, visual, sexual, thinking and communication boundaries intact. We “keep (our) life in the ring” by adding, through the power of the Spirit any Truth which facilitates Life, while also challenging or expulsing any thoughts or behavior that is toxic, and erodes our overall effectiveness (2 Corinthians 10:3–5). If something is compromised or broken, what behavior do I implement in order to bring about restoration?
5. Entire: “Entire” also originates from Integrity and speaks to being full and thorough, having all of the parts or elements in order to create the whole. In relation to the Truth, the entire tree of our existence is examined and treated (our “Roots” from our Family of Origin, Our Soil, to remove toxicity, our “Trunk” of current issues and our “Branches” to ensure productivity in our future). Given the analogy, what part of your existence deserves treatment in order produce fruitful outcomes in your thinking or in your behavior with others?
6. Tangible: Tangible means real or actual (rather than imaginary or visionary), definite (versus vague or elusive), and in most circumstances, is capable of being touched, that is, being material and having substance. In relation to the Truth, we engage in therapeutic processes (Matthew 10:1) in order to produce tangible, measureable, consistent, reliable, edifying and fruitful behaviors. Witnessing and experiencing continued therapeutic (therapeuo) care, attention and help not only re-establishes credibility, authenticates change and increases faith, but it also facilitates healing. As you integrate this data in your life that has helped you to know your spouse (or your situation) better, what tangible, measureable, credible and consistent behavior do you plant so you and your spouse are edified by it? Looking at the Character Growth via Values Clarification could help generate a precise response.
7. Truth: The Truth is reality, and by His nature, exposes the “actual state of affairs” regarding what is correct and accurate. Although embarrassment and shame prompt us to hide, in Truth, we do not avoid nor evade God, nor do we dismiss our spouse’s reality nor discount our own reality that we need to change. Because of the Truth, we endeavor to be real and genuine, in character and in conduct. We are encouraged to Know the Truth, which is liberating indeed (John 8:32, 36).
8. Equals Integrity: When we sum up our experience(s) to “know it all” (in this context, this is good) and engage in activity that is reflective, considerate and integrates insight, accountability, love, respect, empathy, discomfort, pain, ownership and among other behaviors, care, the outcome is simply Integrity. Going forward, what simple, yet profound changes do you make in your life?