By: Louie Taylor
Proverbs 10:9 states, “He who walks in integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will be found out.” Vine’s dictionary defines “integrity” as “moral and ethical soundness.” A person who lives his life according to the dictates of integrity walks a straight and even path of righteousness, and he never has to worry about being tripped up over a lie that he has told in the past. The dishonest person walks in a zigzag path of deception, and his deceitfulness will always be found out eventually, no matter how diligently he tries to cover his tracks.
Dishonesty just has a way of making itself known, and when that happens, relationships are always injured. Psalm 15:1-3 demonstrates the power of integrity in the building of strong relationships: “O LORD, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart. He does not slander with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend.” A lack of integrity will always brings harm to every relationship that we have—with ourselves, with our loved ones, and with our God.
Verse 2 says the person of integrity speaks truth in his own heart. As long as we choose to deceive ourselves, we will never have the peace of mind that God wants us to have in Christ. People often live in denial of the fact that they have problems with drugs, alcohol, pornography, immorality, stealing, cheating, lying, cursing, etc. Until a person is honest with himself and admits there are issues to be dealt with, he will always undermine his relationship with self, and sabotage his own physical, mental, and spiritual health.
A person who lacks integrity will also never develop healthy relationships with other people. Verse 3 says the person of integrity does no evil to his neighbor. Deception is hurtful and evil, and when people find out that we have done them wrong, they have a hard time trusting us in the future. Vibrant relationships are based on trust. So if we speak the truth in love we strengthen the bonds of unity (Ephesians 4:15), but if we are untrustworthy we always fracture our friendships.
Integrity is also required for a spiritual relationship with God. Verse 1 says that only the person of integrity can dwell in the tabernacle of the Lord and live on His holy hill. For us that simply means that if we want to dwell securely in the church of Jesus Christ where all access to the Father is found, we must live upright, godly, and truthful lives. That requires integrity in our worship as well, since all worship must be offered in spirit and in truth to the Lord (John 4:24).
I really think verse 4 of Psalm 15 best captures the essence of integrity. The psalmist writes that the person of integrity, “swears to his own hurt, and does not change.” When he takes a vow or makes a commitment, he follows through with it even if he has to suffer in the process. That means he’s determined to do the right thing no matter what, and no matter how badly other people might be misbehaving. It’s not always easy to walk with integrity but it is always best—and it’s the only way to walk securely with our Creator on the path that leads to heaven.