A few weeks ago, I was performing internship duties at a location on the West Side of Chicago with one of the highest rates of incarceration, violence, poverty, and other aspects of disadvantage. I was scheduled to run my first session on Peace Management as a supplement to the needs of formerly incarcerated men, and those on probation, for anger management. I do not teach anger management, and may explain why in a future blog.
But my session was scheduled for 10:30-11:30am, but I decided to arrive early for their 9:00am prayer meeting and devotion. To my pleasant surprise, the repurposed church sanctuary was arranged with many circular and rectangular tables and chairs with 36 African American and Latino men enjoying breakfast before the prayer meeting and devotion began. I felt fortunate to be in the presence of those men and such fresh servings of grapes, strawberry, juices, pastries, bananas, water, and other nutrition. But more impressive was the poise with which those men, seemingly between the ages of 18 and 65, were attentive in anticipation of today’s devotion.
Deacon Irving announced that the previous session focused on faith, and today’s session would focus on integrity. The discussion about faith is worthy of its own blog, but I want to focus this visit on the fascinating spin on integrity. Deacon Irvin said that we usually hear about the patience of Job in the Bible, but their focus of the day was on the “Integrity of Job.”
Perhaps you are already quite versed with Biblical verses, and have heard of the patience of Job many times, but in all of my learnings of the Bible, I have never before heard a devotion focused on the integrity of Job. “So what is integrity in the first place,” asked Deacon Irving. One of the young African American men stood with great confidence and explained, “It is doing the right thing, regardless of who is watching, especially when no one is watching, and regardless of the circumstances that you are facing.”
Job was being tested by Satan to show his love and obedience to God. So with God’s permission, Job was first stripped from his material possessions and children, then his health was compromised on a second round of assaults by Satan. Yet Job, regardless of being advised otherwise by his spouse, did not forsake God. He remained loyal, hopeful, and encouraged. He did what he knew was right, regardless of the circumstances that confronted him, and who knew or was watching. How does this spin on integrity relate to your own life?
I invite you to re-read Job Chapter 1 and the other associated verses through the lens of Job’s integrity instead of his patience. Then apply this definition of integrity to your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as they relate to any struggles that currently confront you, and that you are seeking to overcome.Written By: Peter K. B. St. Jean, Masters Level Intern