Author and motivational speaker John C. Maxwell writes the following about integrity:
When I have integrity, my words and my deeds match up. I am who I am, no matter where I am or who I am with. Sadly, integrity is a vanishing commodity today. Personal standards are crumbling in a world that has taken to hot pursuit of personal pleasure and shortcuts to success. On a job application one question read, “Have you ever been arrested?” The applicant printed the word No in the space. The next question was a follow-up to the first. It asked, “Why?” Not realizing he did not have to answer this part, the “honest” and rather naive applicant wrote, “I guess it’s because I never got caught.”¹
Chuck Swindoll was given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Catalyst 2009 Conference. During his presentation, he described “10 Things I Have Learned During Nearly 50 Years in Leadership.” The eighth item on his list touched me to the core of my soul. He said the following:
“Integrity eclipses image. What you are doing is not a show. And the best things you are doing is not up front, but what you do behind the scenes.”
The world is concerned about image; it seems that the only thing we care about is how good a person looks. Does he or she fit the image that will sell the product? Does he or she have the right body, hair and/or smile? We are not so concerned about the inner character of the person, only their image; it’s the image that attracts us. The funny thing about image is that it can be altered. What you see is not always what you get, especially in this age of technology where images and appearances can be altered. Have you ever heard of Photoshop? When the image and the character of the person do not add up we are disappointed with the person.
In this image driven society, we tend to forget that the inner self is more important than what people see, and one of these inner qualities is integrity. Please don’t misunderstand my concerns. Image is important, but we should not sacrifice integrity for the sake of our image.
Integrity is defined as “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral; honesty.” The ancient book of wisdom says, “Love and truth form a good leader; sound leadership is founded on loving integrity.” Proverbs 20:28 (MSG) A Spiritual Ironman loves integrity!
Solomon said that “beauty does not last.” Proverbs 31:30 (NLT) As a Spiritual Ironman, your integrity should have priority over image. Job was a rich, upright, God-fearing man who lost his image, but maintained his integrity. Like Job, let us maintain our integrity at all cost. When maintained, your integrity creates an unshakable image.
Stay faithful, stay on course, don’t give up and guard your integrity.
John C. Maxwell, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership (Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1998)