What is integrity?

Integrity. We know it’s good. We like to see it in ourselves and in others.

But what is it? A popular definition is that it is doing the right thing when no one is looking. When a lot of people are watching you there is social pressure to do the right thing. They will see it and maybe even praise you for it.

But what about when no one is watching? The person who does the right thing in that situation is said to have integrity.

Another way to get at the meaning is in the word itself. Integrity sounds like another word from mathematics. An “integer” is a whole number. In the realm of people and relationships, having integrity, therefore, has to do with acting with whole (or complete) goodness no matter the situation.

Proverbs 11:3 says: “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” Notice that integrity and faith are connected. So are unfaithfulness and duplicity. The former seeks to live with whole-hearted consistency under God, but the latter is duplicitous: they say one thing but do another; they make commitments and don’t follow through; they use words but don’t keep their word.

Be a person of integrity, of doing the right thing not just the easy thing—even when no one is looking. Act with whole-hearted goodness no matter the situation.

It’s about your own soul. It’s about faithfulness to God. And it’s about being a blessing to the people around you.


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–“Integrity under pressure.” Sermon. February 26, 2023. Click here to watch or listen.

–Podcast: Fun Lent Trivia. Click here or tune in to ‘The Pulse Podcast with Matthew Ruttan’ wherever you subscribe to podcasts.

–Bible quotes are from the NIV. 

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