Author: Samuel Santana | Focus On The Family.
Webster’s Dictionary defines integrity as:
1: firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values: INCORRUPTIBILITY
2: an unimpaired condition: SOUNDNESS
3: the quality or state of being complete or undivided.
That said, I’d like to share some characteristics that those who wish to live a life of integrity should follow:
In the good ol’ days, people shook hands to close the deal on verbal agreements. The need for contracts and lawyers wasn’t nearly as necessary as it is today. People gave their word, and that was enough. Commitments were kept. When a couple entered into marriage, they exchanged vows promising for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, for as long as they both shall live. They made a commitment. I challenge you to keep your commitments. Whether it is a commitment to your marriage, a commitment at work with colleagues or clients, or a commitment to fulfil the promise you made to your kids to go to the park after school, be a person of your word!
Speak the Truth
Slander and gossip are vicious habits and do an enormous amount of harm. I like to visualise slander and gossip as our mouths being guns and our words being bullets. Once our words leave our mouths, just like bullets, they cause harm, if not death, to the target. Once the bullet comes out of the gun, you can’t change your mind and take the bullet back. Our words are like bullets. We need to be careful to speak the truth, and do it with love. Imagine a world where everything we said about anyone (whether they were in our presence or not) was to edify and build them up!
We are bombarded with messages like “if it feels good, do it;” “just do it;” or “look out for number one.” Not great messages if you want to live a life of integrity. Sometimes, having integrity means you look out for what is best for others before you seek your own interests. Integrity cannot be associated with selfishness. They are polar opposites. Practice self-control and before you take any action, ask yourself, “Why am I doing this? Will my actions have a harmful effect on anyone?”
Learn How to Pray
Jesus modeled how to live a life of integrity, and it began with prayer. There are many moments in Scripture when Jesus gives examples of prayer. Interestingly, He teaches us not only how to pray, but also how not to pray. In Matthew 6 Jesus is giving His disciples examples of how not to pray, and then He shares with them an example of the kind of prayer we should practice. True prayer begins with recognising God the Father, surrendering to His will, asking for what you need, forgiving others and accepting forgiveness, and receiving the divine protection of God.