“The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them,” Proverbs 11:3. Integrity means to be whole, complete, or sound. A building, with structural integrity, will stand strong when the storm comes rolling in. Or, when people talk about the “integrity of our elections,” they are talking about the soundness and reliability of the process. If a person has integrity they are morally whole and sound. To have integrity you need convictions and the gumption to stand upright by them. A man of integrity stands upright. But what’s the difference between a man of integrity and a hardheaded individual? Many confuse their cantankerousness for conviction but how can we distinguish the two? To stand with integrity, you need a foundation. If the structure of your conviction is going to have any integrity, it needs a strong base, the truth of God’s Word. It’s hard to remain upright slipping and sliding in the mud, no matter how confident you are about your footing. Having opinions and sticking to them isn’t necessarily a recipe for holiness. Being truly convinced and being wrong is not a good road to travel. Know truth and stick to it.
When your foundational belief is to do whatever benefits them in the moment, your own crooked ways will be your doom. The sin and their deceitfulness used to get what you want, in the end, becomes your own judgment. Like wicked Haman, in the book of Esther, who built the gallows to hang his enemy Mordecai in a treacherous and murderous plot, was in the end, the one who was swinging from them when his plan backfired. Having no core convictions or compromising the truth can be beneficial for a little while, but in the end, you’ll pay a heavy price.
The man of integrity is not going to bend due to public pressure. He won’t be swayed by the popularity of his positions. He won’t change, even if he knows it will cost him. In Paul’s letter to Titus, the second chapter deals with issues he wanted Titus to preach. To the young men in the church, he wanted them to be soundness in the doctrine and their life. They should believe the truth, speak the truth sincerely and live the truth with integrity (Titus 2:7-8). If you want to be a person of integrity you need to have integrity in your belief. When Moses sent Joshua and Caleb to spy out the promised land before entering, they came back with an honest report. But the people didn’t like what they heard. The tide of public opinion was beginning to turn against them. Because they were men of integrity, they stood on the promises of God and rebuked the people for their lack of faith and exhorted them to take the land. The result? The people wanted to stone them. Men of integrity are rarely popular while they live because the have to stand against the majority.