by Vanessa Hooker
When you hear the word integrity, what do you think of?
To me the word integrity always conjured up images of people who told the truth, stood by their word, and one you could trust. Basically, just good people.
Believe it or not, the word integrity is not mentioned in the Bible very often. When I searched “Bible verses on integrity”, these were my results:
“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” – Proverbs 11:3
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” – Luke 6:31
“The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.” – Proverbs 12:22
“To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.” – Proverbs 21:3
The Bible is touching on different characteristics that describe a person with integrity but not defining integrity. I recently joined a leadership group at my church, and this is the topic we have been diving deeper into. What I have learned so far is, while my definition of integrity lines up with what the Bible is describing, it is not the whole picture. Integrity is when your internal/private life matches your external/public life. Meaning the things that you think and do when no one is watching align with the person you portray to others.
This very concept of being one way in private and another way in public really hit me when I was given a shirt by my church that has the statement “Live Like Jesus” on the front in large white letters. When I was wearing that shirt, it made me hyperaware of how I was acting, where I was going, and what I was doing. I felt if I am wearing a shirt claiming to “Live Like Jesus” then I better be doing that exact thing. The thing about shirts is, you take them off.
After discussing integrity further with my leadership group, I felt God talking to me and saying “why are you only aware of your actions when you are wearing the ‘Live Like Jesus’ shirt? You should be aware of them ALL the time.” It was at that moment that I realized I had not been fully living with integrity.
Integrity is something that happens all the time. When you are having good days as well as bad. When things are easy or if you are stressed and overwhelmed. Integrity is something that should never stop. If you aren’t sure how to handle a situation with integrity you can always turn to a popular phrase from my youth and ask yourself, “What would Jesus do?”
I believe the reason the Bible does not give a definition of integrity because they gave us a living example of it, Jesus. If you want to live with integrity, then you need to do what my shirt says and “Live Like Jesus.”
I am committed to continue my quest to “Live Like Jesus” and walk in integrity all the time. I hope you too will join me.