Integrity for some persons seems a strange word, even for myself. For some times I try to find the proper meaning of the word, which will be able to describe the conception of integrity. When I tried to re-open some books and tried to remember all thing that I have ever received in the past about integrity, I stucked on two words which connected each others : unity and wholeness.
Why unity ? and why wholeness ?, for me those two words try to reveal the effort to unite all different things but support each other in order to form the perfection. The word wholistic might be the proper similar word for integrity, because this word imply the meaning of wholeness and perfection.
The bible mentioned so many figures of faith who had high integrity, and numbers of faith warriors who also have the integrity in their life. But the questions now, are : What integrity means ? and How can we become a man of integrity, and also how can we maintain the integrity that we already have in life ?
I am one of a person who admire the integrated christian figures, beside Jesus, I also admire the figure of Paul, Daniel, Joseph Barnabas, David Livingstone, John Sung, Sadhu Sundhar Singh and some other figures. Why that I admire them ? Because for me, they are persons who were willing and daring to show their difference, they were able to show their faith in the middle of the world which rejected their believe, even to death. I believe that you are all agree with me on this.
Soon after I join to the world of working, I sense the term which is called self crysis. This happened was not because of my disability on adapting to the work situation which was completely different to my past college situation, even to my own imagination. But this was happened because I have lost my inner self as a true christian man. I have tried to find the cause of it, even I have read so many books written by Edwin Louis Cole for men just to help me to find my manhood. But nothing, I can’t find it. Until one day, when I started to have my own bible study. I found one figure of the Bible who was simple, modest, and almost unknown, but actually was a trully man who has a high integrity of life. Joseph the son of Jacob – Maria’s husband and the step father of Jesus - is the person that I meant.
Why I dare to say that he was an integrated figure, do I have any proof on it ? My assesment is not made without any reason, because it is really the reallity that I find on him, when I did the bible study. It is true that the bible is not too much on mentioning about the existence of Joseph, they bible shows Joseph only on some occasions such as : the range of Jesus’ birth up to Jesus’ childhood, but the explanation of how he lived is not mentioned there. Nevertheless, the observation of some biblical experts from various books gave very interesting information about him. What kind of integrity that Joseph showed as a believer to God in his life ? Following I bring you together to reveal his integrity :

1. Joseph With His Self
As we know that Joseph is the descendant of David (Matt 1:20) who works as a carpenter (Matt 13:55), an occupation which stressed on the perseverance and carefulness of the person to get the best result. There was consideration that Joseph has ever been working as a carpenter in a city namely Sephoris, which was burned by Roman empire when Jesus was 10. This off course will have made Joseph had to leave his family behind because his family was living in Nazareth. His deep love and sincerity of his work was not only making him doing his job responsibly but also inheritted his job to his sons, include Jesus (Mark 6:3). From this point I see that Joseph is not merely working to fulfil the needs of his family but moreover he deepen the love for his work to himself and his sons.
Biblically, he was one of the flawless person, even has the sincerity and compassion, which was proven by his rejection to embarrasse Maria who was pregnant by divorcing her obviously (Matt 1:19). His relation with God can be seen through his obedience on doing the will of God (eventhough it againts his willingness) when Gabriel the Angel showed himself to him, so that Joseph will marry Maria who was pregnant of the Holy Spirit (Matt 1:20).

2. Joseph With His Family
As a husband, Joseph was a man who full of acceptance and love. He was willing to accept Maria with all her condition, include bear all the shameness because of the people’s impression, who have already realized that Maria was pregnant before married. Even the bible mentioned how that Joseph taken care Maria’s womb, up to the day of Jesus’ birth (Matt 1:25). He loves his wife so much, which was proven by his sincerity to strive on finding the proper place for stay, both for him and her pregnant wife, while they were in Bethlehem.
As a father, Joseph was figure of man who educates his children. I am one of the person who believe that Joseph has became the model of a father for Jesus, before Jesus built His relation with His Father in Heaven. This image can be seen from how that Joseph, with love, educated his children without differed each other, his perseverance on educating his children, including Jesus on carpenter job, encouraged his children to study in Sinagoge since they were younger – the habit of Jews people to send their children to learn about torah (Luke 4:16), and also taught them the language of Hebrew (Rabbi and Classic), Greek, and Aramic. This can be seen when Jesus has a discussion with the teacher of the law (who spoke Rabbi hebrew language) when he was 12, while His mother language is Aramic.

3. Joseph With His Society
Joseph was a person who kept maintain the norm and regulation which were applied in the Jews society. He was always obey all rule which was established within society. This can be observed on how he considered the rule of the society when he has a plan to divorce Maria quitely, when he realize that she was pregnant. In the middle of the society, he was also well known as a carpenter (Mark 6:3), this shows us his good socialization with society around (altough it was not explicitely shown).

With all reality that I found in Joseph the son of Jacob, how can’t I be amazed. For me, he is a real integrated man : as a husband, as a father, as a member of the society, even in the middle of work place. I do not know whether I am able to be a “Joseph”, but I must confess that he is one of the Bible model who can be followed in term of integrity. His sincerity in passing through his life has given the real example for his children and the people surround him.How about us : I am not only talking about them who are men, but also a women ? Do our roles in our life have became something that can be brought into responsibility (does not God put us in a particular place with a reason ?). Do our life has made people surround us see God who live within us, so that they will glorify our Lord ?. Whereever we are : at home, in the ministry, in work, in the middle of the nations, we are asked to be a wholistic or integrated person, where our faith and knowledge will be useful and helpful for the glory of God. (29/08/05)


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