4 Components To Live With Integrity
But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? John 8:45-46
C.S. Lewis, the author of Mere Christianity and a host of other significant books, said, “Integrity means doing the right thing even if no one is watching you!” Before him, by almost 400 years, the English playwright, William Shakespeare, said, “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”
Integrity is based on your value system and should never be based upon what you gain by dishonesty, yet is our world today, we are much like the Sawis of New Guinea when missionary and anthropologist Don Richardson went into the tribe to introduce them to Christianity. In telling the story of Judas’ betrayal of Jesus Christ, he realized they were pulling for Judas–not Jesus Christ, and then he realized that treachery was valued–not honesty.
Is it really that much different in the entire world today? We live in a world where the end seems to justify the means. Sales people overpromise and under deliver, all in the name of making their quotas for the month. Corporate accountants falsify their books to make sales look significantly better than they really are. “Everybody does it!” they rationalize. Applicants for a position with a company exaggerate their accomplishments because they need a job and feel that they will never be found out.
What are the components of integrity?
Component #1–Absolute Honesty. And it is right here that you sink or swim. The antithesis of honesty–dishonesty is really fraud. The inspector signs off on an inspection of an airplane because he is too lazy or runs out of time to properly assess the amount of fuel that is available for the flight. On December 26, 2016 a plane crashed carrying a Brazilian football team because the plane exhausted its fuel before it could land, according to Colombian aviation authority. Of course, no one stepped forward and said, “I’m responsible!”
Component #2–Reliability. When a police officer finds himself in a situation where his life is jeopardized, he or she wants to know that his back is covered, that the officer who has been summoned to back him up is going to be there–not in a coffee shop somewhere. Reliability goes far beyond “life or death situations,” but is an integral part of your character.
Component #3–Loyalty. One of the most moving true stories ever told involved a devout Seventh Day Adventist in World War 2–a conscious objector by the name of Desmond Doss. Doss enlisted as a medic and refused to carry a rifle or take a life. Taking Hacksaw Ridge in Okinawa was absolutely necessary for the allied forces to win. Doss, under fire constantly, refused to think of himself but scaled the ridge and saved the lives of at least 75 wounded men, taking wounds himself. Doss refused to leave until there were no more wounded comrades to rescue.
Component #4–The willingness to pay the price of being different. It is at this point that most of us step to the sideline–being different often makes a person the object of scorn and simply makes others uncomfortable. There is often a price to pay, at times, for having integrity.
Nonetheless, as Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The time is always right to do what is right!”
Resource reading: Proverbs 4:20-27