Righteousness is Another Word for Integrity
Someone once surprised me, catching me off guard by calling me a “man of integrity.” Though honored by their perception, I shook my head. Yes, I aspire to be a person of integrity, but I’m not there. I have a long way to go and will never fully arrive. Still it’s a worthy pursuit.
Do You Cheat at Solitaire?
I recall someone saying that integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking. I suspect most of you have never played solitaire old school, using a deck of cards, but it’s an easy way to understand this idea of integrity in private.
As someone who has played solitaire with cards, I understand this too well. Holding cards in our hands makes it all too easy to peek at what lies ahead.
Yes, there have been times of integrity when I refused to cheat. And there have been other times when I gave in because I felt that peeking was my only chance to win.
That’s a lack of integrity.
How we play solitaire seems like a small thing with little consequence. But it’s indicative of the whole person. If we maintain our integrity in small things that no one sees, we’re much more likely to do so with the important things that people do see.
It takes conducting both our private and public life well to be a person of integrity.
Are You Honest and Moral?
Two key components of integrity are honesty and morality. Honesty speaks truth even when it’s difficult to do so.
Dishonesty can occur by saying what is untruthful. But it can also occur by not saying what needs saying. Withholding needed information is just as dishonest as speaking lies.
Morality is doing the right thing. It means living the right way. The Bible calls this righteousness, which is not a very popular topic in today’s culture. In fact, morality is not very popular either.
Both honesty and morality are integral requirements for a person of integrity.
Do You Wrap-up Things Well?
I’ve often said that a person reveals their true character by how they leave a job.
Do they quit without notice, leaving their employer in a difficult situation? Or do they give their two-week’s notice and then work hard until the last hour, striving to wrap up their projects and leave on the best possible terms?
But this goes beyond ending well each time we leave a job. It’s finishing everything with excellence. It’s completing what we start. When you launch into a project do people suspect you’ll never finish? Or do they know they can depend on you to complete what you said you would do?
That’s a person of integrity.
Will You Finish Strong?
The final wrap-up occurs at the end of our lives. Will we finish the race strong? That was Paul’s goal (Acts 20:24 and 2 Timothy 4:7). Too many people coast toward the finish line of life, and some even give up or make a U-turn to head in the wrong direction.
As for me, I don’t want to lose sight of the goal. I want to run hard to get there. I want to finish strong. I want to be a person of integrity when my life here on earth winds down.
Be a Person of Integrity
Becoming a person of integrity is not a grand, one-time decision. It’s a series of little decisions, moment by moment, day by day. Each one of these helps us establish a habit of integrity. Each one helps us move toward the goal of being a person of integrity.
The opposite is also true. Each time we fail to do what is right, each time we take a shortcut because it’s expedient, and each time we spew a white lie because it’s easier than speaking truth, we move away from integrity.
These also combine over time to lessen our integrity. We then risk becoming dishonest, immoral, and corrupt.
When I think of integrity, I think of righteousness. The opposite of righteousness is unrighteousness. The Bible talks a lot about that—and warns against it.
Each day I strive toward the goal of righteousness, with the intent of becoming a person of integrity. This is not only to serve as an example to others, but also as an act of worship to God. I long to one day hear him say, “Well done good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).
May it be so.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.