Thursday, May 09, 2013

Word Picture - Integrity

This is the first of three posts on word pictures. It's actually a rerun of a post I did back in 2008, but I've updated it somewhat. It fits with my next two posts, so I decided to revive it.

I like word pictures. It's where you define a word, by building a picture, telling a story. The result is a more robust definition, something that sticks with you for a long time.

One such word picture surrounds my idea of integrity. Wikipedia defines integrity as being the concept of basing of one's actions on an internally consistent framework of principles. Another way to say this is by asking the questions "Does a person's walk match his talk? Does he do what he says he will do? Does he follow through?"

But a better word picture comes from a pastor I knew in Charlotte, NC. It's been on my mind a lot and I've shared it with some friends lately. A little research (thanks to Google) told me that it comes from the Latin word sometimes interpreted sincere, which literally means "no wax".

The picture is that of pottery. Pottery is of course made out of clay. It is shaped carefully for a particular purpose, say carrying water. Then it is placed in an oven to bake it. During the baking process, the clay can shrink and sometimes leave cracks. Of course a pot with cracks is pretty useless, so it should be thrown away.

But some dishonest dealers found they could fill the cracks with wax. They might paint the pot, to make it pretty and then sell it to an unsuspecting buyer. The pot works fine until it ages or is heated and the wax melts out. Then the pot is fairly useless for carrying water.

The word integrity can be literally interpreted "no wax". It's a finer grade of pot and the seller has the integrity of only selling pots with no cracks.

Word picture number 2 is coming up next and then a special request for word picture number 3.

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