I was not a crazy teen. I was in many ways a model of responsibility. I was the model student at Bossier High School in Louisiana. In fact I was elected best citizen by my peers and teachers. I had school spirit and lived by the honor code. I was the president of my school class, a letterman athlete, and a leader in the School Band. At church I was the President of my Youth group. I earned the Eagle rank in scouting and traveled around the country giving speeches representing The Boy Scouts of America. I was advancing through adolescence in stellar fashion with an impressive resume for which I was proud. Then one night I got arrested. It happened at a Spiritual life conference at Ouachita Baptist College.
We had traveled north from Loring Air Force Base to this college campus to join other military chapel organizations for a regional event. A couple of girls from Mississippi were throwing a party in their room after curfew. A buddy and I went over to their room and scaled the wall up to their dorm room. We took off their window and started climbing in.
Just as we were entering their room, a spotlight shined on us. Police yelled, “Halt!”
The Chaplain who was the director of the Conference was roused from his sleep and came to the campus police station to address the situation. He was crazy mad and cussing up a blue streak. I looked at him and thought, what a hypocrite. He considers himself a man of God and yet he lacks any integrity. He should not be talking the way he is. He has no self control. What a hypocrite!
Then I thought about myself. I too was a hypocrite. I was one way with some of my teachers and friends and then a different person in another setting. I decided that night I wanted to be the same inside and out, and in every situation. I wanted to be a person of integrity.
I look at Integrity as the polar opposite of hypocrisy. The way I have come to think of integrity is that your PERSON is INTEGRATED. You are the same through and through.
Being arrested, breaking into a dorm room was not only humiliating but it made me realize that I truly desired the reality of God’s life deep within and all around me.
On the last night of that Conference there was a Baptism Service for two girls who had committed their lives to Jesus. During their Baptism with water, I thought back to my Baptism by Chaplain Lindal in New York . On that night I opened my heart to the deep infilling of God’s Spirit . I prayed, “God come into me.” And God did. It was like I was baptized with his Holy Spirit.
The next day there was a visitor to the conference . He was introduced to the people attending the last meeting before going home. It was Chaplain Lindal. He kept showing up at important spiritual times in my life. His presence was a confirmation that God was working in me through his Spirit.