I have been thinking about the word integrity lately. Do you consider yourself a person with integrity?
The other day I was at Home Depot to buy some materials to build a sandbox (pictures to come later). Part of the purchase was some rebarb and the woman at the checkout did not know how much they were, so she asked me. I told her what I thought price was and she said “okay.” Then she asked me how many bags of sand I had and I said six and instead of double checking she said “okay.” Finally I bought 12 pieces of wood and she checked me out and told me to go get what I needed.
Now I could of told her that the price of the rebarb was lower than what it was listed for, I could of told her that I bought four bags of sand instead of six and I could of taken as much wood as I wanted. But I would not of felt good about that because I have integrity.
For me someone with integrity bases their actions on a consistent framework of principles. To have integrity is to have some set of core values. Now we need to remember, not everyone’s core values is going to be the same, also an individuals values will change over time. But as long as the values are consistant and they are in line with the person’s actions then you can say that person has integrity.
Throughout history, every great philosopher and religious leader has tried to teach us the same lesson – the principle that integrity, or wholeness, which they have claimed is the natural order of things. In spite of the fact that we live in separate bodies, houses, and nations, the bottom line is that we strive for unity. We are constantly looking for someone with integrity to bring us together for a unified purpose. The trouble is that we don’t always agree on that purpose.
We see this lived out throughout time starting in the Bible. Psalm 78 is the story of God’s people from their captivity in Egypt until the time of King David. It tells us that God was good to His people, but like us, often they found themselves not listening to God. They wanted to have a leader to bring them together so they demanded to have a king, a military leader and eventually God blessed them with King David. Now David was not always perfect but as we read in this Psalm (verse 72) that he led his people with integrity. This is a consistent characteristic of David throughout 1st and 2nd Samuel. Throughout his whole life David was able to stand up for truth, justice and the rights for his people and he did not back down when faced with hardships.
Perhaps we can learn from David and others who have lived their lives with integrity. Because when we have integrity, we align ourselves with all the saints that have gone before us. When we lives our lives with integrity we align ourselves with God. And when we live with integrity, we become very powerful indeed.