Sometimes it seems that being someone of integrity is not as important as it once was. Or maybe the definition of integrity is changing. I guess it shouldn’t be surprising. The dictionary defines someone with integrity as someone that adheres to “moral and ethical principles”, and society seems to be making changes to what is considered moral or ethical on a regular basis. As we continue to redefine what is considered “right or wrong” – the idea of integrity is watered down and there becomes a lot of gray areas.
Psalm 15 gives a nice summary of what having integrity might look like. Someone who can be depended on to act in a godly way no matter what is happening around them – or no matter who is watching. It has given me something to think about.
Do we make it a point to speak the truth from a sincere heart? There are many times in a day when we’re presented with a choice to tell the truth no matter what or to twist the truth a little according to the situation. As Christians, people are watching to see what we will do. Will we tell the truth, even if the result isn’t what we’d like – or will we tweak the story just a little bit because the end result is better? Will we sign off on something for our child for school, even if we know they didn’t actually do it because you want them to get a good grade? We better be careful – our kids are watching. Will we cover for our boss at work because they ask us to, even if it means lying to someone else? I once heard it said, “If I can lie for you, I can lie to you.” Will we tell a half-truth to our spouse just to avoid an argument over something inconsequential? We need to remember that even if no one else knows we’re not being completely honest, God does. He’s paying attention to our heart.
And what do we do when the conversation with friends turns to gossip about someone else? Do we join in because it would feel uncomfortable to be the only one not doing so? As hard as it might be, a person of integrity would keep their mouth shut – or even better, defend the person or put an end to the gossip all together. Didn’t our moms teach us if we don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all?
Who are we honoring and respecting, these days? Who are we choosing to spend our time with? Who are we defending when social and political issues create large divides? Are we standing on the side of those that are choosing to ignore Biblical values? Or are we aligning ourselves with those that faithfully follow the Lord – even when it’s the harder road?
Do our promises mean something? Can people depend on us to do what we say? Do we honor promises we make even when it’s not easy? There are so many things these days that are promised – and then when the going gets tough, there’s always a “way out” that can be justified somehow.
The Bible talks a lot about integrity. It matters to God. And it will certainly matter to the people around you whether or not they choose to have integrity themselves. Someone who adheres to Biblical moral values despite the cost will be respected – and will be trusted.
I know, my God, that you examine our hearts and rejoice when you find integrity there. You know I have done all this with good motives… 1 Chronicles 29:17
Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the World. 1 Peter 2:12