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December 2008 Chad Bonham, Lorenzo Romar, Integrity, The Road Less Traveled, University of Washington

FCA Resource Excerpt: Integrity
The following is an excerpt from FCA’s recently published book,
Integrity, part two of a four-book series on FCA’s four Core Values: Integrity, Serving, Teamwork and Excellence.

For Lorenzo Romar, integrity is one of the simplest concepts he’s ever learned—so simple, it only takes a brief, pondering pause followed by a concisely spoken sentence for him to explain.

“A person with integrity consistently does the right thing,” he states matter-of-factly.

As the University of Washington men’s basketball coach, Romar has provided a walking, talking example of integrity to the young athletes that don the Huskies’ uniform year in and year out.

Take, for example, the coach’s no-swearing policy. During practices and games, players are not allowed to use any form of profanity. If they do, the penalty is a healthy number of laps around the court. Romar says it’s not even necessarily a spiritual matter, but rather an issue of self-control and class.

“What I’ve found is that guys will not use cuss words around me off the court, either, but I’ve never told them that,” Romar says. “Off the court I’ve told them, ‘That’s your life. But on the court, when people are watching how we conduct ourselves, that’s disrespectful to some and offends some, so stay away from it.’”

Romar’s strong disciplinarian style is in sharp contrast to much of what he experienced growing up in Compton—the famed rough-and-tumble Los Angeles community. All around him were signs of family breakdown, but Romar—who says he wouldn’t want to have grown up anywhere else—is thankful for his parents, who raised him in a household built on integrity.

Lorenzo Romar

“There was crime and some other things that weren’t good, but I did my best to stay away from those things,” Romar says. “I couldn’t come home if I did something I had no business doing. I also had a desire to be something special in this sport, and I knew that the other peripheral things could get me off track, so there was no interest in them at all.”

One of Romar’s favorite Scriptures is Ephesians 5:1, which admonishes believers to “be imitators of God.”

“If I can keep that perspective, I am basically living out a script as if I were an actor,” Romar says. “I’m not talking about being phony, but I’ve taken on a different attitude, a different outlook. I see everything through that outlook as I’m guided by my coach or my producer—which is Christ—as opposed to my own views, my fleshly, worldly views.”

Romar says that when the temptation to cave in to his own humanity is strong, he immediately reminds himself of the damage such a moral failure would do to his witness and any future opportunities he might have to share the gospel. He also relies heavily on the prompting of the Holy Spirit, which helps keep him accountable to the Christ-centered life of integrity.

“There have been times when I’ve made mistakes,” Romar admits. “I’m not perfect. But I’m aware of those mistakes, and I’m miserable when I have made mistakes. That’s a big, big difference between a man with integrity and a Christian with integrity. I think you can be a man of integrity without being a Christian and not feel guilty when you do it your way. If you’ve got the Spirit of God living in you, man, you’re going to be miserable if you don’t do it His way.

“The best way to go through life is to be a man of integrity,” Romar concludes. “Living a life of integrity does not mean you’re missing out on anything. You’re not. You’re actually going to discover the fun part of life. Integrity is ultimately
being a man of God.”

-- Both Integrity and Serving are currently available at Teamwork and Excellence will be available in March 2009.

Photos courtesy of Washington/Collegiate Images.

Copyright 2007 Sharing the Victory Magazine

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