“Integrity is who you are when no one is watching.”
“We tend to judge ourselves on our intentions while we judge others by their actions.”
They’re all good quotes that ring true. I don’t know for sure who said them. But they’re true. Integrity is important for us. After all, we are church. 🙂
It’s something we’ve probably talked about a lot over the years. You and I probably use that term in conversation several times a week. We want our leaders to have integrity. We want our family to have integrity. We want the government, churches and non-profits to have integrity.
But what about integrity in our personal lives? How does that play out? What does it mean to have integrity when you’re going to a food pantry? What does it mean to have integrity as a volunteer? What does it mean to have integrity as a person, sitting alone on my couch?
For too many of us, we define integrity like this: “I can do whatever I want, as long as I don’t get caught.” Whether something is right or not is not important. Whether something is legal or not is also not important. As long as I don’t get caught, I can do whatever I darn well please.
But is that really walking in integrity? If something is wrong, isn’t it always wrong? For instance, most of us would agree that stealing is wrong. But, if I can steal something and not get caught, is it really wrong? Don’t most companies have “losses” built into the budget? So, if I steal something, it’s probably already covered right?
However, we all really know that stealing is wrong and it hurts people. How does it hurt people? If you steal from a store, your affecting local business who supports our community in various ways. The more that gets stolen from them, the less they will be able to offer to the community. If you steal from the government, the government can’t help as many people or they have to raise taxes to pay for the increase.
The great thing about integrity is that it doesn’t cost anything. We can have integrity for free. It’s also true that when we don’t have integrity, it can actually cost us. It might cost us money or time to pay back a debt if we get caught. We might have to pay for our crime in jail. But, having integrity is free. You don’t have to be rich to have integrity.
The bible says:
“Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.” – Prov. 28:6
It’s not just beliefs and intentions either. You may have the best intentions in the world, but at the end of the day we will all be judged by our actions. If people were going to define you based on your actions this past week, seen or unseen, what would their definition be?
What about you time spent with us at the food pantry? How would people you don’t know define you based on your observable actions the last time you were getting food? Would they say you have integrity? What would your behavior say about the kind of person you are? The the kind of person you see yourself being inside your head, but the kind of person you are based on what you do.