This post might best be described as one of my very few rants.
Biblical integrity. What does that even mean? If someone were to throw that question at me, as I walked down the street, I would say that it means, having a life standard based on God's word, and trying (even though I fail a lot) to be righteous in His eyes. Now, if I had a few more seconds to think about the word, "integrity", I might also say that it's important to have the same set of standards in every aspect of my life. Even my business life. Because, for some weird reason a lot of us Christians think that our business lives and those which we choose to associate with can be neatly cut away from our personal lives, where a Biblical standard is usually present.
But is that possible? Sure. Is it righteous? I don't believe it is.
"But Lisa, doesn't the Bible speak of forgiveness?--And by my loving association, my prayers and my general goodness might rub off on this person, and make him see the error of his ways!"-- Yes and No. I wish we were that awesome, but unfortunately our mere presence is not going to change a person who is choosing to live in a sinful lifestyle, while rationalizing to the world that it is "of God". Should we pray for them? YES! Of Course!! Should we forgive them, even though they have not repented?--- OOOH good question!--Glad you asked!
The Bible says that we are to forgive as God forgave us (Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:13). God forgives us when we repent (Mark 1:15, Luke 13:3,5, Acts 3:19). He does not grant forgiveness to those of us who are stiff-necked and refuse to repent. We must recognize our sin and repent to receive and enjoy God's merciful forgiveness. God requires repentance and so must we.
In every aspect of life there are three elements we deal with: The spiritual, the biological and the psychological. This is how God created us. When we deal with humans, there is always going to be these elements present. We must use prayerful discernment, and maybe look back at the person's history to glean a little information about what makes them tick before we enter into a business or personal relationship with them.
Many times we want to see all things in life as spiritual. And, yes, there is always that element. We are spiritual beings. But God also created us to be physical beings. Sometimes the character traits present in a person are less spiritual in nature and a little more biological or psychological. Example: If a friend has diabetes and forgets to eat after he takes his insulin, he might get shaky and sweaty and start to feel very ill. This is not a spiritual--pray it away--scenario. As much as I would like to lay hands on my friend and pray that these symptoms go away, using intellect I would instead recognize this as a biological event, and give my friend a glass of juice or a candy bar to even out his blood sugar.
Biological and spiritual are a bit easier to decipher. But what about psychological? Some Christians want to continuously morph our God-given psyche with the spiritual. But, again, this is how God created us. Sometimes we have psychological events or psychoses that need to be dealt with on that level.
Example: I would advise any friends who come upon a business associate who projects so much charisma that he is almost the equivalent of a human "Pied Piper". Look up narcissism, and see how these people tick. There are quite a few of these types running businesses. Be cautious in your dealings with people who have this type of psychosis. They are easily believed, and make people WANT to be a part of their world. Use prayerful discernment in these relationships, because they will make you think that you are their best buddy until they get tired of you OR you question their actions. At that point get ready to be dumped! A narcissist must only surround himself with others who think he's as awesome as he believes he is. The relationship is never about you, or even God-- it is always about them. How great they are and how they can make your life, business, etc. better by using their Midas Touch.
Might I add that I fully believe it is OK to not befriend everyone. It is OK to be selective and use wisdom to choose who we associate with. Jesus was not buddies with everyone. He selectively choose the men (and women) who He wanted on his team. We must also follow His example, and choose wisely.
Jesus was not a pushover. If we are to use Him as a life example, then we must first agree on that. Don't be a pushover, either. Pray for a measure of wisdom.