What is Integrity?
Integrity is about doing what is right- even though it may not be easy. It is about taking the narrower and more difficult path, rather than the easy way out because it is more in line with what one believes to be morally best. Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. To have integrity is to follow our moral or ethical convictions and trying to do the right thing in all circumstances, even if no person is watching you. Having integrity means you are true to yourself and would do nothing that demeans or dishonours your principles. Integrity means telling the truth- even if the truth seems unattractive. Those with integrity often feel that it is better to be honest than to delude others- because then you are probably deluding yourself too.
Why is Integrity important?
Integrity is a crucial part of good leadership and is important for us to be able to establish trusting relationships with others in family, friendship, and business. It is also very important for our self- development and for us to be able to better understand and be true to what is most important to us. It helps us to establish a clear ability to be able to distinguish right from wrong and improve our moral judgement of ourselves and others in fairness. Leaders with integrity always err on the side of fairness, especially when other people are unfair. A true mark of leadership is how fair we can be when others are being unfair from our understanding. Leaders with integrity may not be the most famous, or popular, or materialistically rich- but it doesn’t matter to them- all that matters is doing the right thing.
How can Integrity help us?
When we have integrity we are more likely to be ‘trusted.’ Therefore it is only natural that it can help to strengthen our relationships with our friends and family and work colleagues. Those with true integrity do not have integrity just to be liked by others- but are willing for others to dislike them despite their need to be honest and truthful at all times- if they believe that it is for their benefit.
How can Integrity help others?
When a person acts and speaks with integrity- he or she becomes an inspiration for others to be able to do the same. It inspires others to be true to themselves too, and not be controlled by the fear of what others think about us- and may inspire them to strengthen their morals and principles on justice and fairness. Even if others do not agree with what is being said or done- or if they think negatively about the individual’s motives- the natural tendency is that we humans have more respect and trust towards people who seem to have integrity. We are more likely to invest time and energy into people with integrity in business, as friends, family etc.- because we know that they can be trusted.
How can we have more integrity?
The first step in trying to have more integrity in what we say or do- is getting to know ourselves- and for those who believe in God- to Know what He expects and wants of us. -Understanding ourselves and what it is we believe or want to believe in. Understanding what matters to us, what our morals and principles are- and what we are prepared to sacrifice in order to stay true to them.
For those who Believe in God- to have integrity is to do whatever one feels would please Him- in our speech and actions, in whatever we are engaging in. It is about being ‘God-Conscious’. This will obviously be guided and shaped according to our understanding and knowledge of what it is that pleases Him and angers Him. Therefore the first steps may be learning about this- deciding on what it is we genuinely believe and then doing what we say we believe to be morally right. Reading Scripture and learning more about different religions is a good idea. The Ten Commandments of God and the Seven Noahide Principles are a good starting point for those who believe in a Creator, and the prophets and messengers and the Abrahamic Faith.
For those who do not Believe in a Creator or Source of existence and are confused about what it is they believe to be right and wrong- a good principle to start with is ‘ Treat others how you yourselves would want to be treated.’
Some examples of actions that show we have integrity:
Keeping to our promises- even if it takes extra effort
Not betraying someone’s trust in us- even if we get into trouble
Not backbiting or slandering even if we are hurt by someone
Remaining true to our spouse even if we are tempted otherwise
Not letting someone else take the blame for our own actions
If we forget to pay for something that we buy- to go back and pay for it
If we lie or make an error- to admit it, and take responsibility and try not to do it again
Being able to accept constructive criticism and admit when we make a mistake
(Above Writings are based on the reflections of Dr Lale Tuncer)
Scripture quotes on Integrity
'A righteous man falls down seven times and gets up.' King Solomon, Proverbs 24:16
'Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man in his crooked ways.' Proverbs 28:6
'A man with integrity walks safely, but those who follow crooked paths will slip and fall.' Proverbs 10:9
'The Godly walk with integrity; Blessed are their children who follow them.' Proverbs 20:7
'He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.' Proverbs 2:7
'An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.' Proverbs 24:26
'I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.' Isaiah 46:11
'Whoever speaks truth gives honest evidence, but a false witness utters deceit.' Proverbs 12:17
'Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord.' Psalm 31:24
'The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.' Proverbs 11:3
'Walk with integrity, work righteousness and speak truth in your heart.' Psalm 15:2
'The one whose work is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; whose tongue utters no slander, and does no wrong to a neighbour, and casts no slur on others.' Psalm 15:2-3
'Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.' Proverbs 3:27
'Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.' Proverbs 10:9
'O you who believe! Be careful of your duty to God and be with the true ones.' Quran 9:119
'Verily, the most honourable of you in the sight of God is he who is the most righteous.' Quran 49:13
'And whosoever keeps his duty to God, God will appoint a way out for him.' Quran 65:2