Friday, February 24, 2012

What is Integrity?

We've all probably heard about people who have integrity. Or people living lives of integrity. But what does it really mean?

Being the engineering type, I of course look for the proper definition:

Integrity [in-teg-ri-tee] - adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty

I like the second definition from a little better: the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished.

It all sounds pretty simple until I think about what it means to be whole or to adhere to principles. Don't you have to have something to compare to? Isn't it subjective then? And if integrity is subjective, can it be used as a measure of a person?

By my way of thinking, the real issue with integrity is what you use as your standard of comparison. Most people would say that as long you adhere to a consistent set of "good" principles, you have integrity. Or as long as you are consistent, then you can be said to have integrity.

It all comes down to what it means to be whole, entire, sound, undiminished when compared to something bigger than yourself. Some standard that isn't just "am I better than my neighbor."

And it has to be tested to be shown true. As Peter wrote in the New Testament:

For God is pleased with you when you do what you know is right and patiently endure unfair treatment. Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you. (1 Peter 2:19-20, New Living Translation)

Just "doing good" because you will be punished for doing bad doesn't show integrity. Intelligence, yes, but not necessarily integrity. Doing what you know to be right, especially in the face of options and pressure to not do it, reveals more of the wholeness and soundness of a person.

I bring all this up because I've been feeling a lot of pressure lately to compare myself, my life, and my family to others. I feel like there are things that I/we do that "don't measure up" to what others are doing. I feel pressure to go with the flow, so to speak.

And I have to keep coming back to what I believe, what I know, to be right and maintain my integrity as best I can. It isn't easy and I'm surely not perfect at it but I'm not giving up on it....

Speaking of not giving up, I stepped on the scale again this week. Here's what I saw:


Another half pound. Progress but still disappointing. I think it's time to kick it up a notch....

Here is this week's LiveStrong data.

Photo credit to contemplativechristian.