thoughts on integrity…

November 16, 2007

I’ve doing some thinking on the topic of integrity.  I think I’ve always had the wrong impression of what integrity is.  I have viewed integrity as a good perception of something – with me as the judge of whether or not someone has it.  For instance, I would see a persons actions and if they resonated with me as being right-actions I would say that they are a person of integrity…almost the same as being morally or ethically right in my opinion.

But I’ve come to understand, over these last few months, that another person’s integrity has little to do with what I think is right…and everything to do with checking to see if that person’s actions match what they actually believe.  This can be tricky…what if a person gives off the perception of believing something and then they seem to be a person of integrity when in fact they are not really being upfront or honest.  So – I think that integrity is sometimes, or most of the time, hard to judge in other people and only at that point when you really know someone well and develop a trust relationship with them can one really make this sort of decision.

It is much easier to judge integrity within one’s self.  Determining whether or not your own actions are in line with your fundamental beliefs is much simpler…at least for a person who can be honest with herself.

So – I’m wondering if being a person of integrity is more important because of the people that will measure your actions and classify you as good or bad; or more important because it gives you the ability to know that you are a genuine person yourself.  No doubt it is important to interact with people in a way that will earn their trust…but more and more these days I am considering that the arduous task of trying to get people to think I have integrity is more fuss than it is really worth…and often comes down to telling people what they want to hear.

Let’s talk about integrity…genuine living…”practicing what we preach”…so to speak.

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5 Responses to “thoughts on integrity…”

  1. Ian said

    Interesting thoughts, Jay. A couple random thoughts …
    It seems to me that it’s not really up to us to measure another’s integrity, nor are we to be concerned with making people ‘think’ that we have it.
    Sometimes we make judgements on others without fulling knowing their story, or why it is that they act in certain ways. Perhaps, like you say, that trust is developed and we can really get to know someone, we can see them with more compassionate eyes.
    Being a person of integrity often involves telling people exactly what they don’t want to hear.
    When it comes down to it, you’re 100% right in saying that we ought to be more concerned with how we are living, and if we are being consistent with the message of Jesus. That will help us to see past failures in others and love people no matter what.
    Sorry if this is all over the place. It’s 9.0 and I’ve been up for 5 hours already!

  2. Gill said

    I think it’s more important to know you have integrity than to concern yourself about people thinking you have it. What do you care if those people think you have it or not. Ultimately, if you have it it will show and if you don’t it won’t. It’s like that passage of scripture that says it’s not the outside of a thing that makes it beautiful it’s what’s inside that makes it beautiful.

  3. Katy said

    This post makes me think of an article I read by Eugene Peterson called “Transparent Lives”. He calls living a life in which ones actions match ones beliefs, a life of congruence. Commenting on a poem cited in the article, he writes:

    “[The poet] doesn’t talk about achieving this congruence. He talks about its being achieved in us… [Congruence] happens with us when Christ lives in us, Christ living the Christ way in us, in the truth of our lives, playing through our limbs and eyes to the Father. I love that final image: Christ plays in ten thousand places, lovely in limbs—your limbs, my limbs—lovely in eyes—your eyes, my eyes: the contemplative life, living the Christ life in the Christ way.”

    His thesis in this section is that to live a life of congruence we must live in the purpose for which we were created- which is to be in relationship with God and for us to be His vessels in the world.

    So in this way, we neither decide to be people of integrity for ourselves, nor do we pretend to be people of integrity for the sake of others. Integrity is formed in us from the inside out as we surrender to Christ and He lives in and through us.

    If you want to check out the rest of the article it is at:

    http://www.christiancentury.org/article.lasso?id=1195

  4. Patman said

    this doesn’t have anything to do with “Ten points” at the gas station does it?

  5. jasonlocke said

    no pat…actually this posting is quite some time before that little incident…

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