Now I must say that “the walk of integrity” is not a perfect walk, because we all would strike out if that was the case. It is not a completely sinless walk, because John 1:8 says “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
A walk of integrity means to consciously choose to do the right and moral thing. We are defined by the life we live. We are defined by our character. We are known by our integrity, by the way we act and how we carry ourselves, what we do and how we do it. Integrity is not what people think you are. Integrity is what you are when nobody is watching you. Integrity is not what the church, the saints, the co-workers, the school or the community think that you are, it’s what you are behind closed doors. It’s what you do when you are by yourself.
Integrity is being faithful to your spouse and being committed to the vows that you made when you got married. You know you vowed to “keep yourself only unto your spouse” as long as you both shall live. Somebody may say integrity is not stealing from your neighbor, or anybody else; not taking something that doesn’t belong to you. Still others may say that integrity is telling the truth even if it hurts, being honest and upfront.
I agree with all of the above, but it also means giving back that extra $20 dollars that a cashier gave you when you know that they gave you too much change back — and don’t call that a blessing from the Lord either! Jesus said in St. Matthew 7:12 “As you would that people do unto you; do also unto them.” And we all know, that if we gave the cashier or anybody else $20 too much that we would want them to give it back to us, wouldn’t we?
Integrity is doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do. Integrity is not parking in a handicapped parking space when you are not handicapped! I don’t care if you do have a handicap sticker, integrity says that “somebody who really needs this parking spot won’t be able to get it because I, with my two good legs, took it from them.” They are going to have to struggle with pain, barely able to walk and try to work their way into the store; I’m thankful that I’m able to walk well! I’ve seen people park there who walk better than a 2-year-old child. Integrity is as simple as pushing a shopping cart to the designated place, so someone doesn’t have to get out of their car and move it to park their car.
Integrity goes a long way. Let’s be people who walk in integrity.
The Rev. George T. Ellis is pastor of Union Grove Missionary Baptist Church.