Integrity, as defined by the 1828 Webster Dictionary:
2. “The entire, unimpaired state of any thing, particularly of the mind; moral soundness or purity; incorruptness; uprightness; honesty. integrity comprehends the whole moral character, but has a special reference to uprightness in mutual dealings, transfers of property, and agencies for others.”
“The moral grandeur of independent integrity is the sublimest thing in nature, before which the pomp of eastern magnificence and the splendor of conquest are odious as well as perishable.”
Moral integrity as the most sublime? The subliminal thing in all of nature?
Better than planets and stars and the moon and sunsets and sunrises? More sublime than forests and oceans and elephants and roses and sloths ?
That’s an awesome inspiring description. One that deserves our consideration. Have you met someone with that kind of integrity? Are you a person that inspires other people in that capacity?
Frankly, I don’t think much about integrity until I’m staring the opposite in the face.
I have long thought of integrity as being the same person in public that you are in private. Maybe that’s your working definition as well.
You have probably born witness to the opposite effect of integrity in the world around you. Lying politicians who say anything to get elected, then sit o lm their hands instead of doing the will of the people. People who act respectfully in front of the boss, until his back is turned.
You may have experienced disloyalty in your friendships, family relationships, marriage. You may have had to live with someone who acted like the model citizen in public, but behind closed doors it was a different matter entirely.
You may be thinking of people who act one way to your face but say other things behind your back. I am , too.
Loyalty is something I value in relationships , and it is also in short supply in our current dog-eat-dog world. There are few things more painful than being betrayed by a loved one. It can shake the foundation of what you believe to be true. “If they can lie about This small matter”, we think “what else are they lying about?”
But there are other ways to not have integrity. It doesn’t have to be an out and our betrayal.
One of the complaints most lobbed at Christians is that we are hypocrites. And we are.
You e heard the idea that the word hypocrite comes from a word when a piece of pottery had a crack in it, and the people who were trying to sell it would cover the crack so that it appeared whole. But if you held the pottery up to the light, you could see the cracks in the surface.
If you hold me up to the light, will there be cracks? Cracks in my marriage, my parenting, my business operations? I hope not. I hope to be acting in good faith, doing things to the best of my ability.
But I’m not perfect, and that is why I daily go to Jesus.
We are not morally sound. We are far from perfect. We do not carry out all the good works we say we believe in.
Because we need Jesus.
We all desperately need a Savior who has perfect integrity all the time.
Yes, even the already Saved are still desperately sick and need a Healing touch that only He can provide.
Sin is a disease that we will not be completely healed from in our lifetimes.
Sure, hopefully as we follow Him we are becoming more like Him. Hopefully we are daily becoming less selfish , more giving. Less reactionary , more considerate and patient. Sanctification is a process and we aren’t going to live out our faith perfectly.
But we have to live it out. To the best of our ability, with our eyes fixed firmly in His example. Only then will we have the Integrity that we seek.
Because after all, it never depended on us anyway. It’s all about Him.