As a small non-profit with a big mission, we rely on the generous gifts of supporters like you to help our ministry prosper and grow.



Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Susan Hanson

Sunday, November 15

Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation; Noah walked with God.
—Genesis 6:9

One of my favorite scenes in my favorite film, To Kill a Mockingbird, occurs in the courtroom during the trial of Tom Robinson. A black man accused of raping a white woman, Robinson is being defended by Atticus Finch, played by Gregory Peck. Finch’s children—10-year-old Jem and 6-year-old Jean Louise (known as “Scout”)—have sneaked into the courtroom and are sitting among the black spectators in the balcony when the verdict is read.

This being the rural South during the Depression, no one is surprised when Robinson is found guilty. What is notable, however, is the passion and care with which Atticus Finch defended him. In spite of the outcome, Finch takes a small degree of comfort in the fact that the jury had to deliberate longer than usual in order to convict his client; he didn’t win, but at least he had made them think.

Except for those in the crowded balcony, everyone leaves the courtroom as Finch begins packing his briefcase. Then, when he turns to walk out himself, Rev. Sykes turns to Scout and says, “Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passing.” That line gives me chills every time.

Neither Atticus Finch nor Gregory Peck was a perfect man, but each of them had a quality that I admire very much—integrity. Sometimes I wonder if that’s what the writers of the Bible had in mind when they said that this person or that person was “righteous.” We know it doesn’t mean blameless; pick any supposedly righteous person you want—Noah, Abraham, David, Solomon—and you can also find some dark, or at least embarrassing, deed tied to his name.

People of integrity may not be without fault, but what they do possess is a wholeness that comes from knowing who and what they are, and from living out that identity in every part of their lives. For a person of faith, this means acting out of a rootedness in God—not relegating spirituality to “religious” occasions, but being a spiritual person in all things. 

To have integrity is to know something of the existential faithfulness that Jesus had, not just in his values, but also in his sense of what his life was about.

O God, we are far from perfect, but we ardently desire the kind of wholeness that comes from knowing who we are in you, and of growing more and more into that image every day.

These Signposts were originally published on in 2005.