|If You Know Who You Are, You Will Know What to Do: Living with Integrity
“Integrity is much more than not telling a lie – it’s not lying to myself.
It’s more than telling the truth – it’s being true to who I am.”
-Ronald J. Greer
“Where has integrity gone?” is a frequently asked question these days. Ours is a world that begs for integrity. A politician violates the very law for which he wrote the legislation. Athletes take prohibited anabolic steroids to tilt what was supposed to be a level playing field. Greed permeates every cause of the current economic crisis.
Ron Greer’s book If You Know Who You Are… You’ll Know What To Do is an appeal for living with integrity. Ron writes, “Integrity is doing the right thing when we know it’s the right thing to do. Integrity is who we are when someone is watching and when there is not a soul in sight.”
It has been said, “Adversity reveals character.” So it is with integrity. Difficult choices reveal the values, wisdom, and courage that comprise integrity – but the integrity itself has to be within the person before that challenging moment. This book is about the development of the maturity and character that serve as the personal foundation for integrity.
In this book Ron explores the two components of integrity - authenticity and morality. He describes the importance of self-awareness and remaining faithful to the person each of us are created to be. Integrity is being true to who we are - and at our moral finest. It involves following our unique paths with fidelity to the values that comprise lives of character.
We must each begin from where we are if we are to grow in our moral integrity. If we really want to know what our values are, we shouldn’t look at our mission statements. They contain our goals and aspirations, not necessarily our real values. If we want to discover our genuine values, we must look at how we live.
Look at what we do when no one’s looking, when no one will ever know. Look at how we treat those who have no authority or impact in our lives – whose path we likely will never cross again. Those are the choices we make when there is no one to impress, no image to maintain. That is where we each will find, for better or worse, what we really believe. There we will find who we really are.
This awareness of our real selves is crucial. I cannot grow from where I wish I were or hope to be. I can only grow from where I am. I must be honest with myself. That is the only place from which I can begin. And if I discover that my moral bar is set disappointingly low – if how I live is incongruent with what I believe – then I have life-changing decisions before me. Just as personal integrity involves a congruence with my thoughts, feelings, and actions, moral integrity holds a similar congruence with what I believe and how I live.
Our principles and values constitute much of what makes up our core as persons. Because of our commitments to the values we have chosen, we become persons of substance. Therefore, it is vital to make those choices well – with intentionality and wisdom. As author J. K. Rowling has Dumbledore say to his student Harry Potter, “It’s our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
From If You Know Who You Are, You’ll Know What to Do
Ron Greer causes me to want to follow him around. My wife Carolyn and I joke that we are “Greer Groupies.” Why?
A streetwise buddy of mine says he’s seen enough hypocrisy to make him swear off self deception, one of the tragic consequences of today’s media driven culture. Read If You Know Who You Are You Will Know What To Do, and you will clearly see that Ron’s every thought becomes a touchstone for authenticity and its product-peace of mind.
NFL player, coach, and author
Integrity is a neglected virtue. Many of us live without the coherence, depth, and moral stance that integrity gives us. Our sad, disordered lives are the results. From his vast experience in pastoral counseling, Ron Greer gives us a sustained, faithful, very helpful look at our lives through the lens of integrity. I found this to be an engaging and helpful book.
William H. Willimon
Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry
Duke University Divinity School
Retired United Methodist Bishop
The closing sentence of this book says it all. “I look up,” Greer writes, “and I am reminded to be all that I was created to be.” And all the other, preceding sentences are a wise and very pastoral guide to the life-affirming art of learning to do just that – to look up and be all that we are created to be.
Author of The Great Emergence
Ron Greer is one of the most gifted pastoral counselors I know. His wise counsel has helped thousands of persons find health and wholeness in their lives. An now, through his latest book, If You Know Who You Are, You Will Know What To Do, the reader gains access to his keen insights into living a life of integrity. Many of us are all-too-familiar with the destructive power of hypocrisy. Politicians, business executives, and even church leaders are not immune. However, Ron expertly offers a framework for living life well – a life of personal and moral integrity. This book is theologically grounded in the stories of faith, and is seasoned with Ron’s own wonderful “parables” that inspire the reader to live an abundant life. I whole heartedly recommend this book to anyone who wants to experience God’s grace amidst the complexities of life.
Peachtree Road United Methodist Church