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Integrity

Briefing: Integrity, unlike humility, is one of those instantly recognizable, foundational characteristics that we understand as necessary and very valuable in law enforcement.

Dispatch (Assignment): What comes to mind when you hear the word integrity? How would you define it? The question sounds easy to answer but once you actually start writing your own definition I think you will find it is more difficult.

On the Street: As usual, I have a process when writing about a topic or subject like integrity. I like to write down how I understand or define the topic first (my knowledge). This is my base line. I then go to Webster’s and see how and if his definition is different than mine (understanding). Lastly I will go to the Bible and see what the truth of the matter is (wisdom).

Integrity is such a grand word. It evokes thoughts of purity, importance, trustworthy, honest, high stature, grand, moral, impeccable ethical behavior. That’s a lot to live up to.

I was surprised to see how Webster defined integrity. There are two definitions. The first is “Incorruptible”. That fits in perfectly with my train of thought and the list I had developed. The second one took me by surprise, yet intrigued me. “Complete or undivided” is the unexpected definition I found. I almost discarded this definition but God had a different plan.

As I have learned on my journey being a Christ follower, when I think something is perfect, red flags start going up. God tells us in Isaiah 55:8 (NIV), “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” declares the Lord.” Case in point is the second definition.

We are only going to look at four proverbs on integrity but we will look at each one twice. The first read will be through the eyes of the first definition of integrity, “incorruptible”. I believe this will be simple and straight forward. For this read, substitute incorruptible/uncorrupt for integrity as you read the proverbs.

Proverbs 10:9 (NKJV), “He who walks with integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will become known.”

Proverbs 11:3 (NKJV), “The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.”

Proverbs 13:6 (HCSB), “Righteousness guards people of integrity, but wickedness undermines the sinner.”

Proverbs 29:10 (NIV), “Bloodthirsty men hate a man of integrity and seek to kill the upright.”

Does this not make sense? An incorruptible person will have security in his path, their uprightness will guide them, and evil people will not be able to corrupt them. On the other hand, have you ever considered someone as having integrity or being incorruptible? Who got the credit for having this good character? Usually they do and they don’t share with God who gave them the character or glorify Him for the gift.

As His creation, we may act good at times but the credit goes to the creator. When you see a great painting you give the credit to the painter, not the painting.

The second definition, “complete or undivided” sheds a different light on integrity. What is God’s purpose for us? Simply stated, it is to glorify and worship Him. We are called to be a living reflection of His glory. Our goal is to be one with God in word, thought, and deed. We are to be complete and undivided in our relationship with the Father, through His Son. If we use this definition of integrity, complete and undivided in our relationship with God, it gives a deeper understanding and a fresh look at these verses.

This time, when you read each verse, substitute integrity with complete and undivided relationship with God.

Proverbs 10:9 (NKJV), “He who walks with integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will become known.”

Proverbs 11:3 (NKJV), “The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.”

Proverbs 13:6 (HCSB), “Righteousness guards people of integrity, but wickedness undermines the sinner.”

Proverbs 29:10 (NIV), “Bloodthirsty men hate a man of integrity and seek to kill the upright.”

Which kind of integrity are we striving for? How about both? I think we already aspire to the incorruptible but how much thought have we given to complete and undivided relationship with God?

Investigational Resources: 1 Chronicles 29:17, Deuteronomy 9:5, 1 Kings 9:4, 1 Chronicles 29:17, Job 2:9, Psalm 7:8, 25:21, 41:12, 78:72, Matthew 22:16, Titus 2:7

Officer Safety Principle: You can be a man of integrity and still not be a man of God. Be a man who has a complete and undivided relationship with God.

from The Book of Proverbs Through the Eyes of a Cop
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
Click here to check out the entire Through the Eyes of a Cop series!

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