Authentic people practice integrity. People may have insight, initiative, influence, and impact, but without an integrated life they didn’t attain one of the highest values – integrity. Integrity ultimately determines the quality of a person’s impact.
It is easy to say “I am honouring God” but by saying this it means to honour your commitments to Him even when it is difficult, expensive, or inconvenient. The same is true with our relationships with people.
One of my teachers in the early grades said, “Integrity is to be who you say you are.” That made a huge impact on my life – to be who I say I am, when saying and doing are the same.
David, though the wonderful brave king he was, lied to Ahimelech, the priest – 1 Samuel 21:1-9. His lie protected him from the persecution of Saul, who wanted to kill him, but his lie led to the death of 85 priests (1 Samuel 22:9-19). David’s ‘white-lie’ and even the withholding of the truth led to tragedy. Nowhere in the Bible is David’s lie condoned, but the Bible is clear that lying is wrong. Careful not to minimise or categorise sin, but avoid it, because there are consequences.
Keeping your word is the essence of integrity. As Stephen Covey points out, “honesty is making your words conform to reality. Integrity is making reality conform to your words.”
Integrity is required for trust. If people can’t trust your word, they won’t trust you.
Keeping your word is sometimes difficult, expensive, and inconvenient. But the cost of not doing so is even more expensive. It will ultimately cost you…
So how do you survive in this brave new world of total transparency? Simple. Tell the truth. This means at least four things Michael Hyatt is saying:
- Commit to total transparency.
- Be the first to “air dirty laundry.” If you break the news, you control the story.
- Understate the facts. Get in the habit of “rounding down.” Don’t inflate the numbers.
- Manage others’ expectations by telling the truth.
Live and speak the truth, and you will live integrity.