A question: what does it mean to be integral in all relationships and activities? I think a starting point is to try and recognise where your root of integrity is based and then how it will, in some measure, determine the fruit of integrity in your place of work and in all your relationships within community.
Roots of Integrity
It always amazes me to see how a tiny seed when placed in the ground can grow into its intended plant having strong and deep roots that will go on to produce lots of fruit and flowers. The roots of our own integrity may stem from a deep and personal faith in an integral God. You may have developed a firm trust in a humanistic philosophy that offers you a required moral code and ethics to live by.
In the country we reside in it will exhibit a unique culture and national identity that seeks to uphold the importance of being integral. You may feel that you have a strong self-identity that gives you a personal strength and pride to be the person of integrity you want to be. If we seek to live a life with integrity then people will trust us and rely on us to stay true to our word and intentions evidently shown in all our actions.
Fruits of Integrity
In my research around the value of Integrity I came across this article from Minimalism Made Simple that outlines ten reasons why integrity is important in life and I share them as follows:
1 We are known as reliable. 2 We become a better person. 3 We have a good reputation. 4 We enjoy feelings of peace. 5 We show confidence to all we meet. 6 We are able to forge good relationships. 7 We enjoy sound sleep. 8 We are admired. 9 We become a natural leader 10 We are inspirational to people we meet.
There are other aspects of being integral which can be added to the above and may overlap slightly. We have the quality of being honest and seek to uphold strong moral values and principles. We are described as a person of complete integrity, shining out consistently in a world of constant change. We hold on to principals that, in some settings, may otherwise be quickly compromised.
If we are integral we will want to be accurate, honest and truthful in the pursuit of one’s ambitions. It is also very important to keep our promises, pay our debts on time, uphold confidentiality and be trustworthy and dependable. It is valuable to align our conduct to what we think is a higher and excellent way which will help us to be open in our character and relationships. Lastly at this juncture we will want to develop and maintain a good reputation and to have a clear conscience in all matters so that we gravitate to become natural and inspirational leaders to many.
If we exhibit integrity it will enhance our relationships which in turn will build up any national and international characteristics such as honesty, truth, respect, appreciation, generosity, kindness and a lack of prejudice.
Little root and fruit
Another way to understand what being integral is and is not, is to compare contrasting people who have different roots of integrity and will by default produce a different type of fruit. At this point we must be generous, because for all of us ‘to err’ as the saying goes ‘is human, to forgive (and understand) is divine.’
Those who lack integrity are prone to being very direct in speech and manner. Many are not clear in what they are communicating and this gets tied up with intended plans and produces in people a propensity to waiver in speech and actions. Another indication of those lacking integrity is a willingness to quickly compromise in given situations and like to brag about their achievements and in the process are found to be rather rude and not reliable. They are also prone to being defensive and not willing to say sorry or take accountability for their actions.
The testing of integrity
Job in the Old Testament was a very wealthy and successful man and during two times of testing he lost many livestock, family and workers. Then he encountered some personal health issues while expressing his complaints to friends and to God. However, his wife asked him why he was still holding on to his integrity? You should curse God and die! Job told his wife that she was talking foolishly and reminded her that personal integrity should be upheld during both good and troubled times in life.
There are times in our own lives when we feel we are being severely tested on many fronts and may find it hard to survive and thrive. Our relationships with those close to us become frayed and things said with emotion, require forgiveness and a reset of heart and mind.
For a moment take time to identify any areas in your life where you are being tested and looking for positive change and encouragement?
Purpose in life
May we be thankful for deep roots that produce wonderful fruit and spectacular flowers enabling individuals, families and communities to flourish with the intrigue of integrity?
(Selah: take time to consider what you have just read)