The word integrity is from a root word which means to be whole or complete. The opposite of that is to have a divided heart, or to be double minded, or to say one thing and do another. Early in America’s history a bank loan, real estate transaction or other business deal could be guaranteed with a handshake…they called that a “gentleman’s agreement”. Now legal contracts are required because our culture has lost the character trait of integrity. There used to be saying that “a man’s word is his bond”. In other words, what a man says he will do, he will do. That is integrity. It is having a walk which matches one’s talk, being whole or complete in that what a person says they will do, they actually will do.
Job was known as a man of integrity. Because of that, he had built tremendous business interests because he could be trusted. He lost it all, but still maintained his unchanging faith in God, and God gave back to him more than he had lost.
Burke Marketing research did a study of 100 executives in the nation’s top 1000 largest companies, to determine what employee qualities most irritated bosses. Seven factors were discovered, including irresponsibility, absenteeism, not following company policy and lack of trustworthiness, but the number one quality that bosses hated was lack of integrity. When a person’s heart is complete, they will do exactly what the say they will do. When they lack integrity they will lie, cheat, cut corners, falsely accuse, blame others, cover up, steal, mislead, and earn a reputation as someone who cannot be trusted. That is not the way to get ahead in work, in school or in life. Once a bad reputation has been earned, it is almost impossible to change people’s perception. Live a life of integrity, of completeness of character, and you will be given great responsibility.
THOUGHT: We must be the same person in private and in public. Only the Christian worldview gives us the basis for this kind of integrity. (Chuck Colson)
(Adapted from the book “Love, Dad: 47 Devotionals on Character For the Entire Family”, available on Amazon)