“Integrity has no need of rules.” Albert Camus
“A little integrity is better than any career.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Integrity has become a long-lost art. We see its antithesis, dishonesty, running rampant in all arenas of life…media, politics, families, and yes the church.
Integrity is simply defined as: adherence to moral principles; honesty.
Integrity or the lack of integrity will have impact on every aspect of your life. You will ultimately be known by your integrity. I’ve heard it said that integrity is what you do when no one is looking…I believe it’s true.
Too often people operate in Convenient Integrity…simply put, they have integrity when it costs them nothing but abandon it when it may be costly. I try to live by and teach the principle that; Leaders (Christians) do the right thing simply because it’s the right thing…that is integrity! No need for “rules” – just a strong moral compass whose true north is the word of God. Integrity is not integrity if it is abandoned in difficult situations.
Recently, my integrity was put to the test. A situation was handled incorrectly (biblically speaking) which ended up costing me and my family a great deal of resources. Everything about the situation seemed so strange and surreal. Contracts were broken and I was left with a decision. Would I allow someone else’s lack of integrity redefine my integrity? I decided that I would uphold my end of the contract even though the organization didn’t hold up theirs. Convenient Integrity would have justified a response in which integrity was abandoned all together. I’m not saying that I didn’t think about it…I did…but I refused to act on it. My integrity is not defined by what happens to me but rather by how I respond to what happens to me. The reality is, authentic integrity is only demonstrated when it costs you something. Someone can say they have integrity all day…put them in a pressure situation and see their response…what do they do when they are cheated…then you will know their integrity.
Let me be clear…Integrity is not about living perfect. People with integrity make mistakes. The difference is when they recognize they have made a mistake they do whatever they can to right the wrong. If you have integrity you will live your life continually doing these two things: doing the right thing…or making the thing you did right.
Psalms 25:21 states; “May integrity and honesty protect me, for I put my hope in You.” David understood the need for integrity…even when everything around seemed to be falling apart. When our trust is placed firmly in God there is no need to abandon our integrity.
One key to strong integrity is good counsel. The bible says; “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” Proverbs 11:14 When I am facing difficult situations I turn to my “counsel”…these are men of God who have seen much and are not afraid to be honest with me. They have nothing to gain or lose by being brutally honest with me…I appreciate their counsel. Find good counsel and allow them to speak in your life!
Is your integrity a matter of convenience? Take steps today to repair your integrity…if you have done wrong, simply make it right. Let integrity define your character and life…after all, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, Loving favor rather than silver and gold.” Proverbs 22:1