Living with integrity simply means that what you say and what you do are the same. That you walk in truth. That you are a safe, trustworthy, whole individual. That you have a moral compass and are not afraid to use it. And that you choose what is right over what is popular.
It doesn’t mean stretching the truth.
It doesn’t mean taking advantage of others.
It doesn’t mean hiding your own truth for the comfort of others.
It doesn’t mean manipulating others.
It doesn’t mean pretending.
It doesn’t mean being a chameleon because you don’t really know who you are.
And it definitely doesn’t mean crushing others in an attempt to hide your own flaws.
It takes courage to say no, when you mean no.
It takes courage to stand up for truth and justice.
It takes courage to care about others; to realize you are not the center of the universe.
It takes courage to be faithful in relationships.
It takes courage to understand and exercise delayed gratification.
Integrity literally requires relationships with others who challenge you. With others who can call you out. With others who don’t passively comply. If you don’t have this, I promise you, you don’t have integrity. A lone man, wise in his own eyes, can never be his best.
The weak are indicted by integrity. They hide from it. They slander it. They mock it.
But they don’t possess it.
People who do possess integrity often expel a great deal of their precious energy trying to reconcile the behavior of those who don’t. There is nothing to reconcile here. Not everyone has courage, and therefore, not everyone has integrity.
That precious energy instead should be placed into 2 areas:
- Learning about safe vs. unsafe people. Becoming safe ourselves and setting appropriate boundaries with those who are not.
- Investing in safe people. Living in community with safe people. Growing with and refining other safe people.
The fact is that weak people are not safe and not everyone deserves your best. Learning to implement grace and truth in your life and with everyone you meet is the greatest work you’ll ever do.
Not everyone will get it, but plenty of people think they’ve got it. They keep a circle of “yes men” and cut out anyone who challenges them. They live in secret. They are small. They are ignorant. This is the opposite of integrity.
You may stop reading right at the moment that I add Scripture, but let me tell you, not only does the Lord hate the following, but so do ALL people who are truly of integrity…
There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him:
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
a false witness who pours out lies,
and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.
I could go on all flipping day about that but, just like how integrity is black and white, so is that list. You either get it or you don’t. You either practice it or you don’t.
Every single day we can choose courage or we can choose weakness. Choose wisely.