PART 1- Integrity
“There can be no friendship without confidence, and no confidence without integrity.” – Samuel Johnson
The Key to a Good Life
The problem with integrity is conflicting desires. We have this image of who we want people to think we are really like and then who we really are when no one is around. Integrity is when these two worlds are in alignment. But there is a problem with this simple definition. it takes for granted that you desire to be a good person. it assumes you want to be a better person than who you are now. For example, you could say Hitler was a person of integrity. He did his crimes in public and in private. Hitler wasn’t bad on the outside and then in private a goody two shoes! Integrity is more than just lining up your private life with your public life. Bad people can have integrity too. There is honor among thieves.
Then what is integrity?
Integrity is about the values you choose to buy into.
It’s about how you live.
It’s about how you choose to treat your friends and family.
It’s about how you make decisions and choices.
It’s about YOU.
It’s about what informs the choices you make.
We have parents, ideas, books, movies, web sites, friends, teachers, preachers, nature, religions, our culture, and more to influence choices. The beautiful part is we are not animals. Animals for the most part are not influenced by outside stimuli on their decision making. They are motivated by instinct. There instinct tells them how to act. It informs their decisions.
As creatures made in God’s image we get to decide what informs us. We get to choose what values to live by. We get to decide if we want to mean or kind, immoral or moral, loving or hateful. We get to choose.
Integrity means to be whole, integrated, undivided. It means you are confident in who you are and where you are going. In your life you will face decisions that will seek to divide you. You will do battle between with what you want to do and what you ought to do. This is true from the words you speak, to how you treat people, and right down to the very food you eat. Integrity is what will help you do what you ought to do.
Understand integrity calls you to be a better person then who you are now. Integrity demands the highest standards. Integrity will keep you whole when your life is full of split ends. Integrity demands that you buy into and live a certain set of values.
What values should you live by? What should buy into? Personally, I have decided on two values in my life and if I live up to these two then I will have lived a great and full life. It’s not original with me (Cue Jesus here) but it originates me, if you get my drift.
Scot McKnight calls it the Jesus Creed. Our love of God spills into our love of others. The goal of my life is to simply be unified in these two commands. Why do I buy into these values, these commands? Simple, no other philosophy of life has made more of an impact on the world and in my world.
You would be wise to follow in kind.