When was the last time you heard anyone talk specifically about integrity? It has become a forgotten word in our society along with others such as honor, respect, and reverence. Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines it as: “Wholeness, entireness, unbroken state; the entire, unimpaired state of any thing, particularly of the mind; purity; genuine, unadulterated, unimpaired state.” When speaking of integrity we are speaking of the pure, genuine, unimpaired state of mind which guides the whole individual to make equally pure, genuine, and unimpaired choices about right and wrong, good and evil.
We live in a society today that does not teach our children integrity. Today’s society teaches amorality. Instead of “do what is right,” they teach “do what feels right;” instead of following the rules, they teach the rules were made to be broken; instead of absolute right and wrong, they teach situation ethics; instead of instilling moral fiber, they indoctrinate with immoral cancer. Then parents, who have inundated their children with the ways, principles, and precepts of the world through tv, radio, literature, and social media, come out and wonder “what has happened” to the next generation.
The term “integrity” is used 16 times in the Scriptures (all of them in the Old Testament). It was the integrity of Job that God regarded and his wife attacked (Job 2:3, 9). It was integrity that God desired out of Solomon when he was made king (1 Kin. 9:4). It is by our integrity that we will be judged before God (Psa. 7:8; 26:1, 11).
Consider Solomon’s words about the importance of integrity: “The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them” (Pro. 11:3); “Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool” (Pro. 19:1); “The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.” (Pro. 20:7).
It is time we re-integrate the terms integrity, honor, and respect into the minds and hearts of our children. They need to see them, hear them, and have them ever present before them in life. They need to be exemplified in every part of life: in my work, in my dealings with others, in my handling of God’s Word, in my relationship with my family, and in my relationship with God. They need to be written on the posts of our houses (Deu. 6:9).
Do we still remember what it means to have integrity? Do we demand it of ourselves, our children, and our people; or will we allow the world to teach them the ungodly “principles” that will guide their actions?