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Practice Integrity

(Titus 2:1, 11-3:8)

Integrity

•Integrity: from the Latin integritas, meaning wholeness, completeness, or purity. To


courageously hold to what one believes is right and true, without compromise. To stand
undivided, immovable, consistent in both heart and action, word and deed. Involves the
maintenance of virtue and the pursuit of moral excellence. Integrity is demonstrated by
not only espousing your values, but by living according to them. Integrity describes both
who you are and what you do. People of integrity are conscientious, trustworthy,
accountable, committed and consistent. A key to maintaining integrity is “counting the
cost” before committing yourself.

•“Psychologists have found integrity to be essential to an individual's sense of identity


and self-worth, enabling the successful navigation of change and challenge. Links
between integrity and the ability to gain and maintain the trust of others have often been
noted. Many purveyors of practical advice, including Cicero and Benjamin Franklin, have
counseled that integrity is the cornerstone of worldly success. According to Franklin, "no
Qualities [are] so likely to make a poor Man's Fortune as those of Probity & Integrity"
(quoted in Beebe, 1992, p. 8)” - from Blackwell’s Encyclopedic Dictionary of Business
Ethics.

•In Living a Life That Matters Rabbi Harold Kushner describes the kind of people who
are able to overcome the negativity in their lives as shalem, people who are “whole,
united within themselves, their internal conflicts ended.” Because of this, he says, they
are “persons of integrity.” Integrity, says Kushner, is a quality just as essential to human
well-being as is the pursuit of peace and justice.

Richard Sears—founder of Sears Roebuck and Company—started the modern mail


order industry, supplying a burgeoning nation with innovative products and building a
business that gave employment to hundreds of thousands of people. In his zeal to sell
merchandise, Sears occasionally would get carried away with catalogue descriptions,
praising products far beyond the literal truth. This in turn led to returned merchandise
and reduced profits. But Sears learned his lesson. In later years, he was fond of saying,
"Honesty is the best policy. I know because I've tried it both ways.” - from Integrity at
Work, ed. By Ken Shelton.

•The Bible/Talmud says that:


–The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found
out. (Prov. 10:9)

–The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their
duplicity. (Prov. 11:3)
–Integrity brings
peace (i.e. a clear conscience) and marks the perfect man (Hebrew
Word: Tam = Man of Integrity) (Ps. 37:37, 1 Kings 9:4)

– The just [man] walketh in his integrity: his children [are] blessed after him. (Prov.
20:7)

–A good name is better than precious ointment. (Ecc. 7:1)

•Some Biblical Examples of Integrity:


–Joseph, Gen. 39:1-12
–Jacob/Israel (Gen. 32:29) known as a “simple man” (tam, Gen. 25:27) that is to say,
that “his mouth was like his heart.”
–Job (Book of Job, see in particular description of Job at 2:3, 27:5)
–Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego (Daniel Chapters 3 & 6)
–David (Ps. 7:8)
–Solomon (1 Kings. 9:4)

•Contrast: Ananias & Sapphira, Acts 5:1-11 and Acts 20:16-36

•Plato once said “I would rather that the whole world should be at odds with me, and
oppose me, than that I myself should be at odds with myself and contradict myself.”

•"In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” -
Thomas Jefferson

Integrity - Example

•Cleveland Stroud had coached the Blue Collar Bulldogs for 18 years before his
basketball team made it to the championship. Stroud recalls that “it was a perfect night”
when they won. “A night you dream of”. He was carried around the gym on the shoulders
of his triumphant players and their proud parents. But the excitement was short lived.
Two months after the championship, during a routine grade check, Stroud discovered that
one player was academically ineligible. The player in question had only played 45
seconds in the regional qualifying tournament. Stroud says, “I thought it was all ruined. I
went through a phase where I was really depressed.” He struggled with what to do next.
Yet, his commitment to integrity led him to the right decision. “Winning is the most
important thing for any coach,” he said. “But your principals have to be higher that your
goals.” He reported the error to the league and the Bulldogs forfeited their trophy. When
the team lamented their loss in the locker room, he told them, “You’ve got to do what is
honest, what is right, and what the rules say. People forget the scores of basketball games,
but they don’t ever forget what your made of.”

•Kenneth Blanchard, the co-author of The Power of Ethical Management, puts it: “There
is no right way to do a wrong thing.” Blanchard says that if you have to cheat to win you
should think twice about the business you’re in.
•“The most important persuasion tool you have in your entire arsenal is integrity.” - Sales
Guru Zig Ziglar

•According to Michael Useem, Director of the Center for Leadership and Change
Management, Warren Buffett's “influence derives from his moral stature and integrity. In
the aftermath of scandals that have rocked U.S. companies in the past few years, it is
difficult to overemphasize the importance of ethics as a factor in leadership.” -Leadership
and Change: Becoming the Best: What You Can Learn from the 25 Most Influential
Leaders of Our Times , Knowledge @ Wharton Newsletter, Jan.28-Feb.4, 2004

Integrity strengthens every proper relationship

Demonstrates respect

Preserves trust

Speak what is consistent with sound teaching

Consistency - the absence of contradictions - has sometimes been called the


hallmark of ethics. - Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Sound = fit or healthy

Teaching = truth revealed in God’s Word

Law and morality are inseparable

Every law affecting human conduct is based on some moral principle(s)

Grace saves and undertakes our spiritual training (1 John 2:26, Heb. 13:9)

God is the source of integrity

Moral change will only occur through spiritual transformation

Our teacher is the Holy Spirit

Our text of instruction is the Word of God

What kind of student are you?