I have done many posts on Integrity. Maybe so many that, like many things when they are talked about regularly, it starts to lose its power. That is a terrible mistake.
Integrity is the container for our character… or at least it should be.
Definition of integrity
- Firm adherance to a code of especially moral values. Incorruptability.
- An unimpaired condition: Soundness
- The quality or state of being complete or undivided : Completeness
Incorruptible, Sound, Complete. But none of these attributes indicate “perfection.” It does indicate that our level of integrity is such where we are above reproach. Meaning our trustworthiness is at a level that prohibits us from compromising our established set of values. For example; if we are accused of something that is outside that place of integrity, those around you know for 100% certainty, that you would not compromise those sets of values, because they are your virtues. (Ref. previous leadership training on Valuses to Virtues).
I was working in a church many years ago. I was called to help restore a pastor who had fallen in his ministry. I spent 9 months working with this man, and he ultimately chose to find an unsuspecting woman in our congregation and started to date her. I got involved and he spread untruths about my involvement in a very convincing way, actually turning this woman against me.
The senior pastor however, knew me. He knew I would never had done what I was being portrayed as having done. It looked bad too! It took another 6 months or so for the full truth to come out. He was asked to leave upon those revelations, and the woman came around to apologize for believing incorrect information. My pastor never once thought I had done anything wrong. He knew I was incorruptible.
I may make mistakes in judgement, I may miss things, I may make some incorrect decisions that need to be corrected, but none of those things equal a lack of integrity. They indicate the need for accountability, growth, greater and greater understanding, etc. This is why scripture tells us there “is safety in many counselors.”
But the issue of the heart is deeper.
Your intention of heart, and conviction is what matters. In my case, my relationship with God holds me accountable. I cannot willfully violate what’s right without feeling deep conviction. That conviction keeps steering me in the right direction. Even if I make a mistake, or miss something, I will humbly receive correction.
Proverbs 9:9 “Give teaching to a wise man and he will be even wiser. Teach a man who is right and good, and he will grow in learning.”
Integrity – Completeness not Perfection.