Proverbs 2:6-8 (NASB) 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 He preserves the way of His godly ones.
Proverbs 20:7 (ESV) The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him!
Psalm 25:21 (ESV) May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you.
Not all of the clients I see in counseling are Christians. But for the ones who are, the topic of integrity often comes up. Why? It comes up because integrity is of central importance for any Christian who wants to follow and live fully for Christ. It is of central importance to our witness as believers, to our families, to those we don’t even know are watching us, and to ourselves.
Here are some words that define integrity: the quality of being honest and fair; the state of being complete or whole; adherence to a code of moral or artistic values; not corruptible. For me, integrity means that my words and actions line up. I am who I say I am. If I claim to be a Christian (which I am), it is my hope that you see that evidenced in my life wherever I am: at church, at home, at work, at play, with Christian friends, with non-Christian friends, with people who are living in a way contrary to what God’s word instructs, in ordinary places such as the deli counter in the store or chaperoning my children’s band camp, with my children, with my husband, in the car, when people can see me, and even more importantly, when people cannot see me. Having integrity means that if I claim to belong to Christ, then that is how you will see me live. No, I am definitely not perfect, but hopefully you see a Christian who loves God, and who strives thoughtfully to live according to His ways and Word, to show His light, with His help.
Sometimes it can be a challenge to walk in integrity. It may mean taking a stand against sin, when someone is treating me or others in a sinful way; because sinful treatment is neither good for the person being mistreated nor for the person who is the perpetrator. Sometimes it can mean changing a behavior done in private, because it is not pleasing to God or in accordance with the way He instructs us to live. It may mean saying I am sorry for how I have treated someone and then changing direction to a new way that aligns with Christ. Living in integrity also means accepting and living in the forgiveness I don’t deserve, but was granted because of God’s grace to me through Jesus sacrifice.
What is most amazing about walking in integrity is the peace that comes when my words and actions line up with who I claim to be in Christ. It sounds hard, but actually it is quite easy. He is the Good Shepherd; all I need to do is follow.
Renee Williams, M.A., L.P.C.