A mother gave her young son a command. She said: “My son, live in integrity!” Unfortunately the command was not explained to the boy. He walked away wondering: “What is integrity? And why is integrity important?” The mother’s command lacked practical application for the boy. I am writing this essay to clarify the word integrity and to give practical application to the importance of living in integrity.
Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary defines integrity as "1: an unimpaired condition: soundness 2: adherence to a code of moral, artistic, or other values 3: the quality or state of being complete or undivided: completeness ”(Webster 439). While this definition includes several synonyms already it is beneficial to note that honesty, honor, and unity are also synonyms of integrity. And this definition is from a secular view point. To help give us a better understanding of the word “integrity,” we will look at a Christian viewpoint. The New American
Standard Ryrie Study Bible Expanded Edition’s dictionary (1995 Update) defines integrity as “Sincerity of purpose and single-hearted devotion.” (Ryrie 2194). If I were to combine these definitions they would say, “Integrity is to be without guile and deceit, completely honest, with un-compromising uprightness of character!”
The Holy Bible in Psalms 15 gives a very clear and precise picture of Integrity.
Psalms 15: 1-5 says “1. A Psalm of David. O LORD, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? 2. He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, And speaks truth in his heart. 3. He does not slander with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor takes up a reproach against his friend; 4. In whose eyes a reprobate is despised, But who honors those who fear the LORD; He swears to his own hurt and does not change; 5. He does not put out his money at interest, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken.”(Psalms 15:15)
Do you see the practicality of being a person of integrity? No one trusts a liar. No one wants lies, gossip, spread about them. Do you want friends? Don’t hurt your neighbor! Really, it’s a matter treating others how you want to be treated. It is part of good business. As well as the secular benefits of integrity, there are spiritual benefits as well. God will take care of and bless those living in integrity and seeking Him.
Proverbs 10:9 goes on to confirm what Psalms 15:5 says: “He who walks in integrity walks securely, But he who perverts his ways will be found out” (Proverbs 10:9). In other words, a man without guile and deceit, completely honest, with un-compromising uprightness of character has nothing to fear. No matter how hard a person without integrity tries to disguise his true nature, or lack of integrity, he will be unable to hide.
If you are living for God, and seeking God, you are living in integrity! Integrity affects both our secular lives and spiritual lives. If we are living in integrity we are in favor with God! My friends please live in integrity! Live for God!
Webster, Noah. Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary. Springfield: G.C. Merriam
Ryrie, Charles Caldwell. Ryrie Study Bible Expanded Edition, New American Standard Bible
Chicago: MoodyPress, 1995.