Have you ever had someone make a promise to you that they didn’t keep? How did that make you feel?
Despite the frustration and disappointment of a broken promise or unfulfilled word, we do the same thing to others. It is easy to notice when someone else is not living with integrity, but it’s something we often forget should be characteristic of all followers of Jesus.
Words have great power to build expectations, but actions have the power to build trust. Following through on your spoken word gives credibility to your character and shows great integrity to those around you.
The Bible says, “Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways,” (Proverbs 28:6, ESV) and “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.” (Proverbs 11:3, ESV). Here we see that it is better to have integrity than riches and that those who live without integrity destroy themselves.
But how do we practically live a life of integrity?
Integrity is the honest fulfillment of your word. Simply put, it means that you keep your promises and that you are honest with your work even when no one is watching.
Living a life of integrity means that when your boss asks you if you completed a task, you answer honestly and do not bend the truth. It means that you refrain from cheating on a test, even if it is a take-home test, to preserve the trust of your instructor.
It means that when you say you will take out the trash in 5 minutes, you take out the trash in 5 minutes.
Having integrity means that you keep your promises. Putting your words into action gives your spoken word great weight. It lets others know that when you say something, you mean it.
When you tell someone you love them, but your actions only ever show that they are not a priority in your life, how could they ever be expected to believe you when you say you love them?
You have to back up the credibility of your words with your actions.
Let us seek to say what we mean, and mean what we say always. Let us follow through on our word and show good character. Let us live a life of integrity, which is pleasing and honoring to the Lord.