Paul’s words call us to be true and honourable, pure and just. But what does that mean when we live in a world where facts are based on evidence, but truth becomes increasingly subjective and insubstantial?
As Christians we are called to stay true to God, holding tightly to our faith and our honesty. We are called to be a people of integrity, with beliefs and values that are based on biblical standards and the truth of the Gospel. When we live out these beliefs and values in how we speak and act, then we become a powerful model of faith, hope and of integrity in the world.
Another way of thinking about integrity is to think of being ‘whole’. When we are whole there is only ever one version of us (our true selves) in all our actions and interactions. To be whole means to have the various parts of ourselves integrated into one complete person. It means that we don’t leave anything of ourselves behind, including the parts of us that have been broken or damaged.
We all have fractures or breaks somewhere in our past. I love that Matt Redman sings of being ‘Gracefully Broken’, encouraging us to pour out everything to God who is a God of grace and mercy. The only way we can hope to “live a life worthy of the calling we have received” (Eph 4.1) is to know that God’s grace brings strength to our weakness; his grace is enough (2 Cor 12.9).
As Prison Fellowship, we work with and pray for people in prison whose experiences may well include abuse, lies, grief, disappointment, distortion and disillusionment – people who are often broken and may have lost hope. Who better then to live out and model the Gospel message than those in whom God is at work to bring us towards full healing and wholeness?
In the Kintsugi tradition broken pottery is repaired using a lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. The break is enhanced, and the experience honoured as the pottery is put back together in an even more beautiful form; and God’s grace heals our fractures in a similar way.
God can use us, and our fractures, to show those we serve that nobody is ever beyond repair and redemption, because God can heal in a way that makes you even more beautiful than before.
So, as people who pray for and work with those in prison, may our breaks be healed by the shining light of the resurrection and the mercy of God’s grace, so that all will see that we are indeed a people of faith, truth, honour and integrity.
And may “God’s golden joinery” make us shine with the hope of the Gospel as we continue to respond to the calling we have received.
Rev Gail Miller is the Anglican Chaplain at HMP Preston.
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