Oh, let me sing about faithful love and justice! I want to sing my praises to you, LORD! I want to study the way of integrity— how long before it gets here? I will walk with a heart of integrity in my own house. I won’t set my eyes on anything worthless. I hate wrongdoing; none of that will stick to me. A corrupt heart will be far from me. I won’t be familiar with evil. I will destroy anyone who secretly tells lies about a neighbor. I can’t stomach anyone who has proud eyes or an arrogant heart. My eyes focus on those who are faithful in the land, to have them close to me. The person who walks without blame will work for me. But the person who acts deceitfully won’t stay in my house. The person who tells lies won’t last for long before me. Every morning I will destroy all those who are wicked in the land in order to eliminate all evildoers from the LORD’s city. - Psalm 101 (Common English Bible)
Psalm 101 was believed to have been written first for the coronation of a King, but later used more as a reminder of the values that God desires to be found in all humans, not just those who lead while in office. I read the following in a commentary on this Psalm:
“In a society where the word politician has become almost synonymous with crooked and where much speech - for instance, advertising - is designed to mislead, the invitation of Psalm 101 is particularly timely: that we speak and embody the truth in love as a witness upon our lives and our world.”
I admit that at first some of what the writers says is tough to hear. This seems holier-than-thou, maybe even harsh. But on a second reading, and then a third, I allow myself to ask “What If?” What if we did operate this way? What if my first goal was to walk and speak with integrity? What if I despised wrongdoing in my own life, and avoided it at all costs? The path my life should take would be These words are goals for everyone, and not just limited to leaders.
This Sunday we join with Christians around the planet to celebrate World Communion Sunday. I spoke to the children this past Sunday about how much of what we use does not translate or work in every corner of the world: currency, cell phones, or even electrical plugs. God’s love, though, is something that works everywhere we go. For all of the ways that we are different, we share much in common. This Psalm reminds me that maybe nothing is more important as our shared need to have our deeds and words be held to a higher standard.