For Integrity in Christian Children

Bible Verses About Integrity: 20 Important Scripture Quotes

For Integrity in Christian Children

Integrity is a word that is not used much in today’s English. One definition of integrity is: “the quality or state of being of sound moral principle; uprightness, honesty, and sincerity”[1] So we can say that a good synonym for integrity is honesty.

  In the ESV® of the Bible most all of the verses that contain the word integrity are in the Old Testament, leaving only Titus 2:7 in the New Testament. Closely related verses containing the word honest or honesty are also primarily from the Old Testament.

Take a look at these twenty important Scripture quotes regarding integrity and honesty.

God’s Promise

1 Kings 9:4-5 And as for you, if you will walk before me, as David your father walked, with integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you, and keeping my statutes and my rules, then I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’ (The LORD speaking to Solomon)

Psalm 41:11-13 By this I know that you delight in me: my enemy will not shout in triumph over me. But you have upheld me because of my integrity,and set me in your presence forever. Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen.

Proverbs 2:6-8 For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints.

So you will walk in the way of the good …

Proverbs 2:20-21 So you will walk in the way of the good and keep to the paths of the righteous. For the upright will inhabit the land, and those with integrity will remain in it …

Man’s Plea and God’s Defense in light of Integrity

Genesis 20:5-6 Did he not himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.

” Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her.

(King Abimelech having a conversation with God about Sarah, Abraham’s wife)

Job 2:3 And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.”

Psalm 25:19-21 Consider how many are my foes, and with what violent hatred they hate me. Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me!  Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you.

Psalm 26:8-12 O LORD, I love the habitation of your house and the place where your glory dwells.

Do not sweep my soul away with sinners, nor my life with bloodthirsty men, in whose hands are evil devices, and whose right hands are full of bribes.

But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity; redeem me, and be gracious to me. My foot stands on level ground; in the great assembly I will bless the LORD.

Psalm 26:1-3 Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering. Prove me, O LORD, and try me; test my heart and my mind. For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness.

Integrity Doubted and Judged

Job 2:9 Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” (Job’s wife mocking Job after great tragedy)

Job 31:4-8 Does not he see my ways and number all my steps? “If I have walked with falsehood and my foot has hastened to deceit; (Let me be weighed in a just balance, and let God know my integrity!) if my step has turned aside from the way and my heart has gone after my eyes, and if any spot has stuck to my hands, then let me sow, and another eat, and let what grows for me be rooted out.

Psalm 7:8 The LORD judges the peoples; judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me.

Proverbs 10:9 Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.

Proverbs 11:3 The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.

Walking with Integrity

Job 27:1-5 And Job again took up his discourse, and said: “As God lives, who has taken away my right, and the Almighty, who has made my soul bitter, as long as my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils, my lips will not speak falsehood, and my tongue will not utter deceit. Far be it from me to say that you are right; till I die I will not put away my integrity from me.

Psalm 101:1-2 I will sing of steadfast love and justice; to you, O LORD, I will make music. I will ponder the way that is blameless. Oh when will you come to me? Will walk with integrity of heart within my house;

Proverbs 20:7, 11 The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him! Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.

Proverbs 28:18 Whoever walks in integrity will be delivered, but he who is crooked in his ways will suddenly fall.

1 Timothy 2:1-4 (KJV) I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

Titus 2:7-8 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

Christian Quotes About Integrity

“We must be the same person in private and in public. Only the Christian worldview gives us the basis for this kind of integrity.”  ~ Chuck Colson

“Integrity is keeping a commitment even after circumstances have changed.”  ~ David Jeremiah

“According to Scripture, virtually everything that truly qualifies a person for leadership is directly related to character. It’s not about style, status, personal charisma, clout, or worldly measurements of success. Integrity is the main issue that makes the difference between a good leader and a bad one.”  ~ John MacArthur

“Few things are more infectious than a godly lifestyle. The people you rub shoulders with everyday need that kind of challenge. Not prudish. Not preachy. Just cracker jack clean living. Just honest to goodness, bone – deep, non-hypocritical integrity.”  ~ Chuck Swindoll

“Integrity is built by defeating the temptation to be dishonest; humility grows when we refuse to be prideful; and endurance develops every time you reject the temptation to give up.”  ~ Rick Warren

Can You Find More?

Take a look in the Bible and see if you can find more verses about integrity and share them in the comments below. If you d this article you might also find some of these other good Bible Verse articles helpful:

20 Bible Verses About Prayer–  The Bible says some amazing quotes about Prayer. Check out these Bible verses.

25 Bible Verses About Love– What does the Bible say about love? Check out these great scriptures and quotes.

10 Bible Verses About God’s Promises–  Check out these powerful Bible verses on the promises of God.


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version

The Holy Bible, King James Version

“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

[1] source: – Song ” Honesty” By Sara Groves

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10 Ways to Raise Children With Integrity

For Integrity in Christian Children

It is not easy to bring up children while juggling career, home life, community life and other responsibilities. Often times parents feel inadequate in being able to provide children with their material needs or guilty about not being able to spend time with them.

Another challenge is how to raise them into people who value ethics, not only as productive members of society, but as citizens who have moral integrity.

Obviously these are things that cannot be easily learned from books or left to the responsibility of school teachers but must be deeply rooted in the home environment as the children grow.

Although there has been a lot of research and published articles about parenting styles and techniques on how to raise children with character, many of them agree on common points those pointed out by Thomas Lickona, developmental psychologist and professor of education at the State University of New York at Cortland.

According to him there are ten principles in raising children of character, from his book Character Matters: How to Help Our Children Develop Good Judgment, Integrity, and Other Essential Virtues (New York: Touchstone, 2004). They are summarized below.

Ways to Instill Values in Children

Emphasize Character Development

Parents must not only provide for their kids' physical needs or simply satisfy their wants to keep them happy. Raising children with integrity should be a high priority, too. Parents envision their children becoming healthy and beautiful someday, but they also want to have kids who have character, people who are responsible, can exercise good judgment and who value ethics.

Practice an Authoritative Parenting Style

Parents must always exercise moral authority that children should be able to respect. This is not the same as being an authoritarian who exercises a commanding style of parenting with lots of threats and little reasoning.

Authoritative parents correct misbehavior and disrespect with reason and love, and their children feel that after being corrected they have been treated fairly and with love.

It is far from being permissive or allowing kids to talk back disrespectfully and having things done their way even if wrong.

An authoritative parenting style helps raise kids into adults who have respect for authority and rules.

Communicate and Express Your Love

There are many ways to love children, and buying them expensive things or going on luxurious vacations are not necessarily among them. To love means to show you care for what they think and feel and this can be done by giving them enough time to spend together and communicating effectively with them, even if it entails some self sacrifice.

Some ways of manifesting love and fostering communication include eating family meals together (at least once a day). Observing certain family traditions of getting together also shows how we value each others’ presence even if we have to sacrifice time away from work.

When children feel loved they can put their trust in you and seek your guidance rather than look for the company and approval of peers.

Teach by Being a Good Example

The best way to teach moral uprightness to children is to do what you preach. Parents cannot be credible teachers of integrity if their own characters do not show truthfulness, kindness, faithfulness, modesty, gentleness, fairness and all other values they wish to impart.

It is not rare for people to comment on a child’s consistent good behavior with a question that goes, “Who are his parents?”

Supervise the Moral Environment

Aside from parents being good examples for their children to emulate, surrounding them with an environment of moral uprightness free of bad TV shows, movies, indecent reading materials, etc.

will prevent their good values from being diluted with wrong ideas.

As part of an authoritative parenting style, parents must monitor their children’s entertainment, activities, friends and behavior and explain to them any objections they have to any of these.

Teach Right from Wrong

Outright teaching using adequate reasoning and proper communication helps children learn what is right from wrong. With a good background on what behaviors are acceptable and not, children will be able to develop reliable decision making skills which they will use later in life.

Discipline with Reason

Disciplining wisely means being clear and firm without being harsh, such that the child understands that what he did that was wrong, why it is wrong, and how he can make up for it.

Handle Conflicts Fairly

Conflicts are inevitable, and they often arise from miscommunication. To solve them fairly, parents and children must be able to achieve mutual understanding and arrive at a solution that is agreed upon fairly. Results must be evaluated after some time, to see if the agreed-upon solution is working.

Encourage Good Acts

To raise children who value ethics they must be given the opportunity to practice good acts which will later become habits, which will later become virtues that will ultimately form his character. This can be done by allowing them to do chores to practice responsibility, letting them do volunteer work in the community to practice kindness, etc.

Promote Spiritual Growth

For many people spirituality gives a higher meaning to life and a supreme reason for leading a moral life. Fostering spiritual development by encouraging prayer and meditation, reading spiritual books and attending religious activities often helps in promoting altruism and in preventing succumbing to peer pressure when it comes to sex, alcohol and drugs.

Teach Right from Wrong

Outright teaching using adequate reasoning and proper communication helps children learn what is right from wrong. With a good background on what behaviors are acceptable and not, children will be able to develop reliable decision making skills which they will use later in life.

Discipline with Reason

Disciplining wisely means being clear and firm without being harsh, such that the child understands that what he did that was wrong, why it is wrong, and how he can make up for it.

Handle Conflicts Fairly

Conflicts are inevitable, and they often arise from miscommunication. To solve them fairly, parents and children must be able to achieve mutual understanding and arrive at a solution that is agreed upon fairly. Results must be evaluated after some time, to see if the agreed-upon solution is working.

Encourage Good Acts

To raise children who value ethics they must be given the opportunity to practice good acts which will later become habits, which will later become virtues that will ultimately form his character. This can be done by allowing them to do chores to practice responsibility, letting them do volunteer work in the community to practice kindness, etc.

Promote Spiritual Growth

For many people spirituality gives a higher meaning to life and a supreme reason for leading a moral life. Fostering spiritual development by encouraging prayer and meditation, reading spiritual books and attending religious activities often helps in promoting altruism and in preventing succumbing to peer pressure when it comes to sex, alcohol and drugs.

References, //, //

Image: Family Reading Hour by Peter Merholz under CC BY 2.0

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1. Christian Integrity and Community

For Integrity in Christian Children

You and your small group are about to study Christian integrity.

It makes sense, then, to ask, “Why do we need to be in a group in order to deal with integrity? Can’t we simply hear preaching, study our Scriptures, ask for assistance in private prayer, and exert our own willpower to pursue holiness? What role does a community play in our pursuit of holiness?” This session will address those questions. The entire study, with its group exercises, will help you experience community’s essential role in your growth in integrity.

Session Aims

  •  Individual Aim: To consider why you need community for your pursuit of holiness.
  •  Group Aim: To discuss community’s role in contributing to a person’s growth in integrity.


Read Session 1: Christian Integrity and Community.

Complete Biblical Exercise: Ephesians 4 beginning on page 19.


In North American culture, individualism and independence reign. However, the New Testament describes Christian community as interdependent. Interdependence involves mutual encouragement and intimacy.

Interdependent Christian community also includes a commitment to holiness. Though our culture affirms some of the positive benefits of community, it often balks at the uniquely Christian commitment to holiness in community. It sees as “cultish” communities that want members to be mutually accountable to each other for some definite ethical standard.

It’s no surprise, then, that many churches seem to endorse a very private pursuit of holiness.Yet the New Testament presents a community in which the members have a mutual responsibility to one another in their pursuit of holiness. The members of local churches need to help each other grow in godliness.


When asked, “Do you want to live more and more Jesus every day?” most Christians would say “yes.” But if believers cognitively assent to a desire to grow in Christness, why do so many struggle to see such growth in day-to-day living? What is missing?

In many cases, believers who struggle to grow have a healthy dose of biblical input from over four dozen Sunday sermons annually, supplemented by Christian radio, Sunday school classes, or Wednesday night church services. But are our lives really changed simply by exposing our intellects to more information?

We have been trained to share the Christian message effectively with others, taught how to develop a regular prayer life, and equipped to minister to those in need. We understand that many Christian activities must occur in a corporate, or group, setting.

So why do we seldom understand our growth toward Christness, our sanctification, as a communal endeavor? This study will not simply expose you to principles that help you better understand what moral wholeness, or integrity, looks in the Christian life; it will also encourage you to engage in the process of growth with others.

It must be remembered, first of all, that we are not sanctified merely as individuals but as members of the body of Christ… . We must therefore live in such a way as to advance and enrich the sanctification of the fellow believers whom our lives touch.

––Anthony A. Hoekema, Saved by Grace

Growth in true holiness is always growth together; it takes place through the nurture, the work and worship of the church.

––Edmund P. Clowney, The Church: Contours of Christian Theology

Believers often mistakenly assume that growing in holiness is simply a matter of either exerting personal willpower or passively expecting God to act. But even those who understand the need for both exerting one’s will and developing dependence on Christ still need the encouraging support of a community of other Christians––at least that is what Jesus and His apostles had in mind.

Paul consistently described a corporate dynamic of growth (Romans 15:14; 2 Corinthians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:18; 5:11,14; 2 Thessalonians 3:11-15; Titus 1:9; 2:4,15). Paul never imagined sanctification of isolated individuals but always of individuals within the context of an intimate community.

For a powerful example of the kind of community believers ought to experience, consider one of Jesus’ final prayers on earth. In John 17:2023, Jesus says He desires believers to have the same intimacy with one another as He and the Father share.

One significant reason for that level of intimacy is the encouragement it provides for growth.

In that kind of supporting—and at times correcting—community, believers help each other so that their active living is saturated with the principles of Christian integrity.


Participating in this study with a group of fellow believers is no trivial commitment. If you are unwilling to corporately confess your own sin and commit to pursue growth in new ways, this may not be the study for you.

However, if you are willing, even if fearfully willing, to enter into this process, you will find yourself not only supported in your struggle against sinful influences but also given a renewed vision and motivation for pursuing holiness.

Biblical Exercise: Ephesians 4

Read Ephesians 4:1-16. Also, review “A Method for the Biblical Exercises” beginning on page 15.

Observation — “What Do I See?”

1. Who are the persons (including God) in the passage? What is the condition of those persons?

2. What subjects did Paul discuss in the passage? What did he assert?

3. Note the sequence in which Paul made these assertions. (You might number them in order.)

4. What did Paul emphasize? Are there repeated ideas and themes? How are the various parts related?

5. Why did Paul write this passage? (Did he say anything about ways he expected the reader to change after reading it?)

Interpretation Phase 1 — “What Did It Mean Then?”

1. Coming to Terms—Are there any words in the passage that you don’t understand? Write down anything you found confusing about the passage.

2. Finding Where It Fits —What clues does the Bible give about the meaning of this passage?

  •  Immediate Context (the passage being studied)
  •  Remote Context (passages that come before and after the one being studied)

3. Getting into Their Sandals—An Exercise in Imagination

  •  What are the main points of this passage? Summarize or write an outline of it.
  •  What do you think the recipients of the letter were supposed to take from this passage? How did God, inspiring Paul to write Ephesians, want this passage to impact the Ephesian believers?

Interpretation Phase 2—“What Does It Mean Now?”

1. What is the timeless truth in the passage? In one or two sentences, write down what you learned about God from Ephesians 4.

2. How does that truth work today?

Application — “What Can I Do to Make This Truth Real?”

1. What can I do to make this truth real for myself?

2. For my family?

3. For my friends?

4. For the people who live near me?

5. For the rest of the world?


Read Session 2: Belief and Practice.

Complete the Life Change: Belief and Practice exercise beginning on page 75.

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Creating a Culture of Integrity in the Classroom

For Integrity in Christian Children

As we seek to prepare young people with skills for career success, Warren Buffett reminds us what makes great employees:

In looking for people to hire, look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if they don’t have the first one, the other two will kill you.

We live in an age where “the end justifies the means” has become the mantra of far too many adults who are role models for children.

Nowhere have the circumstances and fallout been more disheartening than in the recent Atlanta school cheating scandal. Admittedly, the underlying issues that lead to dishonesty are often complex and multidimensional.

People rationalize their actions with seemingly valid reasons. But as Buffett suggests, a lack of integrity comes with a high price tag.

How do children learn to be honest, respect societal norms, and act in ways consistent with the values, beliefs, and moral principles they claim to hold? How do teachers instill and reinforce a code of ethics in their classrooms when evidence suggests that high-stakes testing fosters a culture of dishonesty? These are tough questions.

The Basis of Social Harmony and Action

Children are not born with integrity or the behaviors we associate with it, honesty, honor, respect, authenticity, social responsibility, and the courage to stand up for what they believe is right. It is derived through a process of cultural socialization — influences from all spheres of a child's life.

In their school environments, students acquire these values and behaviors from adult role models and peers, and in particular, through an understanding of the principles of academic integrity. When students learn integrity in classroom settings, it helps them apply similar principles to other aspects of their lives.

Most K-12 educators recognize that the students they teach today will become the leaders of tomorrow. Academic curriculum is constantly updated to meet the increasing demands of a changing knowledge society. Yet we pay far less attention to the habits that build ethical leaders — habits that develop during childhood and adolescence.

A recent study noted that 40 percent of U.S. faculty members have ignored cases of cheating in their courses, an indication that teachers don't want to rock the boat or deal with angry parents.

Research compiled by the Educational Testing Service suggests troubling issues related to the development of K-12 student integrity, including:

  • In past decades, it was the struggling student who was more ly to cheat. Today, more above-average students are cheating as pressure mounts to be accepted to competitive colleges.
  • Students who cheat feel justified in their behavior and unfairly disadvantaged if they approach their studies with integrity.
  • Cheating begins in elementary school where children learn to bend rules to win competitive games against classmates. Young children believe cheating is wrong, but could be acceptable under certain circumstances.
  • Middle school students feel increased pressure to be dishonest because there is more emphasis on grades.
  • Cheating peaks in high school when 75 percent of students admit to some sort of academic misconduct.

Integrity is part of the Compass Advantage (a model designed for engaging families, schools, and communities in the principles of positive youth development) because integrity is the basis of social harmony and action.

Despite societal forces that test integrity, children deserve a world that values truth, honesty, and justice.

Linked by research to self-awareness, sociability, and the five other abilities on the compass, integrity is one of the 8 pathways to every student's success.

Image Credit: Marilyn Price-Mitchell PhD

1. Infuse integrity into the classroom culture

Teachers make integrity the norm in their classrooms in several important ways. They clearly articulate expectations about academic integrity and the consequences of cheating. But they go beyond the issue of cheating to create a culture that rewards success beyond grades.

If students have only grades to measure themselves, then cheating is often a justifiable strategy to beat the system. If students are also rewarded for their courage, hard work, determination, and respect for classmates, they see and understand that the process of learning comes first.

This kind of culture fosters integrity.

2. Develop a moral vocabulary

According to the International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI), the five fundamental values of academic integrity are:

  • Responsibility
  • Respect
  • Fairness
  • Trustworthiness
  • Honesty

Incorporate the teaching of these five values into the curriculum and help students use the vocabulary to discuss a variety of historical topics and current events. While dishonesty and disrespect flourish in civil society, ask students to find examples of how individuals stood up for their beliefs and values in ways that made a difference for themselves or for the world.

3. Respond appropriately when cheating occurs

While teachers cannot control student behavior, they can respond with consistency when enforcing school and classroom policies. In a classroom culture that places learning first, dishonest behavior is a teachable moment.

To help internalize learning, ensure that students reflect on and glean meaning from their behavior.

Listen and show respect for their thinking, and then restate your expectations that dishonesty is never acceptable in your classroom.

4. Use quotes to ignite meaningful conversations

Famous quotes can be used as conversation starters, prompting students to reflect on topics related to integrity, moral development, and other attitudes that help them develop positive work habits and respectful relationships.

Elementary school teacher Steve Reifman uses a “quote of the day” as a positive morning exercise in his third and fourth grade classes.

In his book Changing Kids' Lives One Quote at a Time, Reifman provides helpful facilitation tips and prompts for teachers to engage students in reflective conversations.

Quotes can be used with students at almost any age. For older students, they are often used as starters for journal or essay-writing projects. See a superb collection of quotes related to the five values of academic integrity (PDF) written by students at American University in Dubai. Also view famous quotes on the same five values, compiled by the ICAI.

5. Help students believe in themselves

Students who stand up for principles in which they believe have high degrees of self-efficacy. In my study of students who developed integrity and a desire to become civically engaged, young people reported that their teachers helped them believe in themselves through their:

  • Passion for teaching and giving back to the next generation
  • Modeling a clear set of values and acting in ways that supported those values
  • Commitment to giving freely of their time and talents
  • Selflessness and acceptance of people different from themselves
  • Ability to overcome obstacles and show students that success is possible

When young people learn to believe in themselves, dishonesty and disrespect no longer make much sense. Living with integrity becomes a way of life.

How have you developed a culture of integrity in your classroom?

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Integrity – A Christian Virtue

For Integrity in Christian Children

Kerby Anderson helps us understand the true meaning and importance of the Christian virtue of integrity.  From a biblical worldview perspective, integrity is a critical element of a Christ centered life.  Understanding integrity will help us incorporate it in our daily walk with Jesus Christ.

Integrity and the Bible

The subject of this article is the concept of integrity–a character quality that we often talk about but don’t see quite as regularly in the lives of public officials or even in the lives of the people we live and work with.

The word integrity comes from the same Latin root as integer and implies a wholeness of person. Just as we would talk about a whole number, so also we can talk about a whole person who is undivided. A person of integrity is living rightly, not divided, nor being a different person in different circumstances. A person of integrity is the same person in private that he or she is in public.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus talked about those who were “pure in heart” (Matt. 5:8), implying an undividedness in following God’s commands. Integrity, therefore, not only implies an undividedness, but a moral purity as well.

The Bible is full of references to integrity, character, and moral purity. Consider just a few Old Testament references to integrity.

In 1 Kings 9:4, God instructs Solomon to walk with “integrity of heart and uprightness” as his father did. David says in 1 Chronicles 29:17, “I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity.

” And in Psalm 78:70-72 we read that “David shepherded them with integrity of heart, with skillful hands.”

The book of Proverbs provides an abundance of verses on integrity. Proverbs 10:9 says that, “He who walks in integrity walks securely, But he who perverts his ways will be found out.” A person of integrity will have a good reputation and not have to fear that he or she will be exposed or found out. Integrity provides a safe path through life.

Proverbs 11:3 says, “The integrity of the upright will guide them, But the falseness of the treacherous will destroy them.” Proverbs is a book of wisdom. The wise man or woman will live a life of integrity, which is a part of wisdom. Those who follow corruption or falsehood will be destroyed by the decisions and actions of their lives.

Proverbs 20:7 says, “A righteous man who walks in his integrity; How blessed are his sons after him.” Integrity leaves a legacy. A righteous man or woman walks in integrity and provides a path for his or her children to follow.

All of these verses imply a sense of duty and a recognition that we must have a level of discernment of God’s will in our lives.

That would certainly require that people of integrity be students of the Word, and then diligently seek to apply God’s Word to their lives.

The book of James admonishes us to be “doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22). That is my goal in this article as we talk about integrity.


As we examine integrity, I would to talk about its opposite: corruption.

We claim to be a nation that demands integrity, but do we really? We say we want politicians to be honest, but really don’t expect them to be; perhaps because often we aren’t as honest as we should be.

We say that we are a nation of laws, but often we break some of those same laws– speed limits and jaywalking– and try to justify our actions.

A powerful illustration can be found in the book, The Day America Told the Truth, by James Patterson and Peter Kim.{1} Using a survey technique that guaranteed the privacy and anonymity of the respondents, they were able to document what Americans really believe and do. The results were startling.

First, they found there was no moral authority in America. “Americans are making up their own moral codes. Only 13 percent of us believe in all the Ten Commandments.

Forty percent of us believe in five of the Ten Commandments. We choose which laws of God we believe in.

There is absolutely no moral consensus in this country as there was in the 1950s, when all our institutions commanded more respect.”

Second, they found Americans are not honest. “Lying has become an integral part of American culture, a trait of the American character. We lie and don’t even think about it. We lie for no reason.” The authors estimate that 91 percent of us lie regularly.

Third, marriage and family are no longer sacred institutions. “While we still marry, we have lost faith in the institution of marriage. A third of married men and women confessed to us that they’ve had at least one affair. Thirty percent aren’t really sure that they still love their spouse.”

Fourth, they found that the “Protestant [work] ethic is long gone from today’s American workplace. Workers around America frankly admit that they spend more than 20 percent (7 hours a week) of their time at work totally goofing off. That amounts to a four-day work week across the nation.”

The authors conclude by suggesting that we have a new set of commandments for America:

  • I don’t see the point in observing the Sabbath (77 percent).
  • I will steal from those who won’t really miss it (74 percent).
  • I will lie when it suits me, so long as it doesn’t cause any real damage (64 percent).
  • I will cheat on my spouse; after all, given the chance, he or she will do the same (53 percent).
  • I will procrastinate at work and do absolutely nothing about one full day in every five (50 percent).
  • We may say that we are a nation that wants integrity, but apparently a majority of us lack it in our own personal lives.

    The Traits of Integrity

    Honesty I would now to turn our focus toward four key traits found in a person of integrity. One of those traits is honesty.

    We talked about some of the findings from the book The Day America Told the Truth. The authors found that nearly everyone in America lies and does so on a fairly regular basis. Truth telling apparently is no longer a virtue people try to adopt for their lives. We may say we want people to tell the truth, but we don’t do it ourselves.

    That is the problem with corruption; it is corrosive. We believe we can be dishonest just a little bit. We say we want people to be honest, but then we cheat on our taxes. We say we want people to obey the laws, but then we go “just a little” over the speed limit. We want to be honest just enough to ease our conscience.

    It’s a little the story of the man who sent a letter to the Internal Revenue Service. He said, “I cheated on my income taxes, and felt so bad that I couldn’t sleep. Enclosed find a check for $150. And if I still can’t sleep I’ll send the rest of what I owe.”

    Many of us can relate to that man. We want to be honest, but sometimes we find it easier to be dishonest. So we try to find a way to compromise our values so that a little bit of lying doesn’t bother our conscience.


    Another characteristic of a person of integrity is trustworthiness. A person of integrity is unimpeachable. He or she stands by principles no matter what the consequences. A person of integrity realizes there are moral absolutes even in a world of relative values.

    In Tom Clancy’s novel, Clear and Present Danger, Jack Ryan is about the only noble character in the book. As he begins to uncover this clandestine government plot, he is confronted by the antagonist who makes fun of Jack Ryan’s principles. He says, “You’re a boy scout, Jack. Don’t you get it? It’s all grey. It’s all grey.”

    I wonder how often people of integrity hear a similar statement in corporate board rooms or the halls of government. It’s all grey. There are no absolute right and wrong values. It’s all relative.

    A person of integrity knows that it isn’t all grey. There are principles worth standing by and promoting. There are values that should govern our lives. We have a responsibility to follow God’s law rather than the crowd.

    When the book of Proverbs talks of the “integrity of the upright” it implies that we adhere to God’s will and God’s laws. We have a duty to obey God’s absolute commands in our lives and become men and women of integrity.

    “Private” Life

    There is a popular book on the market entitled, Who You Are When Nobody’s Looking. Who are you when nobody’s looking? Will I see the same person that I see when you are in a group of people? Do you do the right thing no matter what the circumstances?

    There was a newspaper story years ago about a man in Long Beach who went into a KFC to get some chicken for himself and the young lady with him. She waited in the car while he went in to pick up the chicken.

    Inadvertently the manager of the store handed the guy the box in which he had placed the financial proceeds of the day instead of the box of chicken.

    You see, he was going to make a deposit and had camouflaged it by putting the money in a fried chicken box.

    The fellow took his box, went back to the car, and the two of them drove away. When they got to the park and opened the box, they discovered they had a box full of money. Now that was a very vulnerable moment for the average individual.

    However, realizing the mistake, he got back into the car and returned to the place and gave the money back to the manager. Well, the manager was elated! He was so pleased that he told the young man, “Stick around, I want to call the newspaper and have them take your picture.

    You’re the most honest guy in town.

    “Oh, no, don’t do that!” said the fellow.

    “Why not?” asked the manager.

    “Well,” he said, “you see, I’m married, and the woman I’m with is not my wife.”{2}

    Apparently he had not considered the consequences of his actions. Even when he was doing something right, it turned out he was also doing something wrong. A person of integrity is integrated and authentic. There is no duplicity of attitudes and actions.

    When the apostle Paul lists the qualifications for an elder in the church, he says “he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he may not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil” (1 Tim. 3:7). This is not only a desirable quality for church elders, it is a quality we should all aspire to. Christians should be “above reproach” in their public testimony before the watching world.

    In the next section we will talk more about the importance of a public testimony of integrity and conclude our study.

    Public Testimony

    I would to conclude our discussion by addressing the importance of integrity in our daily lives.

    It’s been said that we may be the only Bible some people ever read. In other words, people around us often judge the truthfulness of Christianity by its affect in our lives. If they see us as hypocrites, they may not go any further in their investigation of the gospel.

    Every day we rub shoulders with people who are watching us. Your life will demonstrate to them whether Christianity is true or false. They make value judgements about you by your attitudes and actions. Have we made the right choice?

    After his Sunday messages, the pastor of a church in London got on the trolley Monday morning to return to his study downtown. He paid his fare, and the trolley driver gave him too much change. The pastor sat down and fumbled the change and looked it over, counted it eight or ten times.

    And, you know the rationalization, “It’s wonderful how God provides.” He realized he was tight that week and this was just about what he would need to break even, at least enough for his lunch. He wrestled with himself all the way down that old trolley trail that led to his office.

    Finally, he came to the stop and got up, and he couldn’t live with himself. He walked up to the trolley driver, and said, “Here. You gave me too much change. You made a mistake.” The driver said, “No, it was no mistake.

    You see, I was in your church last night when you spoke on honesty, and I thought I would put you to the test.”{3}

    Fortunately the pastor passed the test. Do you pass the test when unbelievers look at you and your life and wonder if the gospel is true? It’s a convicting question. When we live lives of integrity, opportunities for evangelism and ministry surface. When we don’t, those opportunities dry up.

    I have been encouraging you to develop a life of integrity. In some respects, it’s a life-long process. But we have to begin somewhere. Our lives are the collection of choices we have made in the past¾ both good choices and bad choices. Perhaps you have seen the poem:

    Sow a thought, reap an act.Sow an act, reap a habit.Sow a habit, reap a character.

    Sow a character, reap a destiny.

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