‘The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.’ Proverbs 11:3 NIV
The second quality you must exhibit in dealing with others is credibility. When people trust you they’ll listen to you. In the early stages of the relationship, they’ll give you the benefit of the doubt as long as your credentials are good. But in order to maintain their trust, you must demonstrate credibility [reliability, integrity, sincerity]. It’s been said that the mediocre teacher tells, the good teacher explains, but the great teacher demonstrates.
Ultimately, each of us should strive to be the message. In the first six months of a relationship, we focus on a person’s communication ability in order to make judgments about him or her. For example, when we have a new boss who speaks well and casts a compelling vision, we buy in. When we connect well with a new neighbor or co-worker, we feel we may have a new friend. When we meet the person we end up marrying, we think everything will always be wonderful. And for most people the honeymoon is wonderful. But after the honeymoon comes the marriage! Sometimes that too is wonderful, and sometimes it’s not.
What makes the difference? Credibility! Here’s how it works in relationships: during the first six months, communication overrides credibility. After six months of credibility overrides communication. When a person is credible, the longer the time, the better it gets. But for someone who lacks credibility, the longer the time, the worse it gets.
Credibility is like money: with it, you’re solvent; without it, you’re bankrupt. The truth is: with the passage of time the way you live far outweighs the words you use.