“Integrity” is a buzzy, trendy word that is often talked about in business or group settings: everyone wants to have people on their team that will display integrity. The company I work for has six core values we interview and hire people based off of, and one of those is integrity. In my position, I have interviewed several people, and one question I always ask the candidate is this: “how would you define integrity?” I have received a wide range of answers to this question, anything from a fluffy, long winded, non-clarifying answer, or sometimes a really thoughtful, compelling response, or, my personal favorite, answers like “being responsible” or “being a like-able person.”
I have discovered that while most of us are familiar with term, we struggle to define it. And with what we struggle to define, we have an even harder time putting into practice.
So what is integrity? We can all vaguely guess it has something to do with honesty or morality, but I would like to propose it goes a bit deeper than that. My definition to the word is this: “staying true to your values and convictions, even when you have something to lose.”
Fortunately, there are plenty of options to put integrity into practice.
Integrity in the workplace
For many of us, we spend most of our waking hours at work, and as a Christian, having integrity is one of the best witnesses so that our character is not in question and we prove to be trustworthy and a good reflection of Christ. If your boss asks you to tell a white lie on their behalf, do you agree out of fear, or do you push back and say no, even if that meant you could lose their approval? If you have an opportunity to exaggerate numbers on a report, do you do it, or do you tell the truth and risk missing out on a bonus? If you have access to company money or credit cards, do you sneak in some personal expenses, or do you choose to be upright and honest? There are a multitude of ways integrity can be compromised in the workplace, and it takes a conscious effort and discipline to be faithful in integrity.
Integrity in your marriage
A good, healthy marriage will be the greatest tool for growth and sanctification in a believer’s life, and a toxic marriage will be the biggest source of pain and heartache. Integrity contributes to cultivating a safe, vibrant marriage. Do you have transparency with your spouse about your relationships with your co-workers and people of the opposite sex? Does your spouse have reasonable access to your email and social media accounts, or are you hiding or deleting certain emails and texts? Are you wisely confessing sin to your spouse and others? Do you lie to manipulate or control your spouse? All marriages are far from perfect, but creating a SAFE (infinite emphasis on safe) and gracious place for your spouse to be honest with you, free from judgement and condemnation, will grow trust, intimacy, and ultimately integrity.
Integrity in your speech
We all know the people who tell great stories or have really ambitious ideas to share, but that is quickly dampened when the general response to this person is “take what they say with a grain of salt.” Once people lose trust in what you have to say, it is near impossible to gain back. Are you the boy who cried wolf one too many times? Are you known to exaggerate the details to generate a better response? Do you twist and manipulate the facts? Do you use excessive flattery to gain approval? Are you flaky, promising something and rarely delivering? (which includes showing up and being on time) Be a person who is honest and can be taken at their word. You will gain enormous respect for all of those around you.
Why does integrity matter?
We have probably all seen someone who lied on their taxes, yet received a massive refund from the IRS, or interacted inappropriately with co-workers and somehow stayed under the radar, or was promoted based off false information while we sat around feeling like the good guy who always finishes last. So why does integrity even matter? Well, I will let the Bible speak for itself:
The integrity of the upright guides them,
but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.
Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord,
but those who act faithfully are his delight.
Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity
than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.
For the Lord is righteous;
he loves righteous deeds;
the upright shall behold his face.
Let’s be people who honor God with our thoughts, actions, and words, challenging each other to walk in integrity to bring Him glory.
Until next time,