You, Lord, have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence for ever.Ps 41: 12
What it is:
Integrity means doing what is right, even when no one is looking or when it is difficult. It includes being honest, trustworthy, and having strong moral principles. A person of integrity knows the right thing, says the right thing and does the right thing. Integrity involves the inner ‘heart’ matching the outer actions.
There is a constancy to integrity and goodness. It is like being able to walk on a wooden pier knowing that every plank is solid right through and will hold you up, rather than fearing that some might have rotted away underneath. Someone with integrity appears to be what they are: “What you see is what you get.” Goodness and integrity meant that you, and the principles you live by, are faithful, dependable and enduring.
Integrity develops from within; it becomes the depth of us. It is a little like an iceberg. Other people only see the tip of the iceberg. What is unseen underneath is where your integrity is held. Your integrity is extremely important. It is the core of you, your foundation, where your inner strength lies, where your choices of belief, attitude and behaviour take place.
What makes this a Christian value?
The Christian understanding of “peace” or “shalom” is “everything and everyone in right relationship to everything and everyone else.” Integrity is a vital part of this. If we are not honestly who we are, we cannot be in right relationship to others: we are presenting something false, and strong connections cannot be built on a false foundation.
Integrity also involves being at peace with yourself. God knows us completely and loves us completely. We do not need to pretend in order to impress others. We also do not need to pretend to ourselves. We can be honest about our failings as well as our strengths, because we know God will forgive us and guide us.
Christian integrity involves DOING and BEING the person that God made us to be. You can build Christian integrity by having a ‘heart’ for God and doing what you say you’ll do. The Bible gives us guidelines towards integrity, and also promises the work of God’s Spirit in us to make us whole.