"With integrity—nothing else matters.
Without integrity—nothing else matters."
A person of integrity is entirely trustworthy. As love is to the virtues integrity is to character—the greatest of these.
This life transforming integrity is implanted by sincere faith in God and inspired by embracing His Word. In his psalm I call the Psalm of Integrity (Psalm 15), David lays out four ways integrity is revealed in our lives.
1. Integrity Influences Character
Integrity is revealed in who we are. David describes people with integrity as, “The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart” (Psalm 15:2 NIV). Being blameless is a tall order—when no one is watching are you the same person as when you are on public display?
I remember this kind of character in a co-worker when I coached Christian college hockey. One day I found him painstakingly scraping tape off the rubber flooring in our dressing room—and the tape wasn’t from our team! When I asked why he said, “My Dad told me to always to leave the place cleaner that I found it. Besides, imagine the rink manager of this non-Christian institution if every time we play here, they never have to clean our dressing room.” This is the kind of integrity you should look for and hire. I did seek him out to work for me—his integrity sealed the deal. Let integrity shape your character.
2. Integrity Improves Communication
Integrity is revealed in what we say and even what we choose not to say. We all remember learning the phrase, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” As David described, a person with integrity is someone “whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others” (Psalm 15:3). “Slander” means never sharing any words that would lower a person’s reputation in the eyes of others.
I distinctly remember my mother’s rebuke after I justified a derogatory story I had told her because I believed it true. She said, “Would you like that said about you even if it were true?” She was right, but it’s so hard to practice. Once when preparing to preach on integrity as a pastor, I tried to make it through the week leading up to the message without slandering anyone. I only made it one day. Can people actually trust what you say about them when they are not around? Would you say what you have said if they were standing there? Let your tongue utter no slander.
3. Integrity Increases Connections
Integrity is revealed in how we treat others. Simply, if you know the Lord, you treat others well. No excuses and no exceptions. When God has first place in your life, the by-product resulting from character growth is your relationships improve. The one who has integrity before God “...does no wrong to a neighbor.... who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the LORD; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind” (Psalm 15:3–4). Others feel safe around people of integrity. They feel respected, encouraged and honoured as they seek to follow the Lord. A person of integrity isn’t afraid to call out people who are off-track but does it in a winsome way.
By keeping promises and honouring vows we display integrity. When we reflect the character of Jesus and the fruit of the Spirit, our relationships are dramatically and forever changed. We can’t be sensitive to God and insensitive to people.
4. Integrity Invades Commerce
Integrity is revealed in how we work. Do you do your job with God as your boss? David describes a person of integrity as someone who “...keeps an oath even when it hurts, who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent” (Psalm 15:4–5). People who model integrity have a reputation of being fair and trustworthy. God loves it when integrity goes viral in business dealings!
My long-time friend conducts his business with integrity. In fact, he’s known in his industry as “honest Larry.” I never wonder why he has a no problem getting customers—his faith shapes his business practice. Integrity has invaded his commerce.
While we all fully rely on the grace of God in our lives, the true measure of integrity is when a person is at peace in the Lord’s presence. His actions, words, relationships, and business dealings all work together to honour the Lord. I’ll let David have the closing remarks about the person of integrity, “Whoever does these things will never be shaken” (Psalm 15:5).