I was at a QT convenience store this week buying some water. The cashier rang up the sale, I paid her, and she mistakenly gave me more change back than she was supposed to. I didn't realize it at the time. I went out to my truck, I looked at the money she gave back to me, and there was a lot more than she should have given me. My first thought was, "Wow! God is so cool!" But immediately I thought "No! You have got to go back and return the money!"
So, I walked back in and said, "Ma'am, you gave me more change than I was due."
She said, "Oh my gosh! I can't believe you brought the money back! I can't believe it! Thank you so much, this means so much to me, thank you! I can't...." She went on and on and on!
I responded, "It's not that big of a deal!"
It's tragic that we live in a world that is more shocked by integrity than they are by the LACK of integrity.
What is integrity? It is when your behavior matches your beliefs.
It's an integrated lifestyle. Integrated integrity is when what you say lines up with what you do. It's when your private life matches your public life. It has been said, "Integrity is what you do when no one else is looking." It's different than your reputation. Your reputation is who other people think you are. Your integrity or lack of integrity is who you really are.
Proverbs 11:3 says: The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.
One of my favorite characters in the Bible is in the Old Testament; his name is Samuel.
At the end of Samuel’s life, he stood before his community and he said, 'Have I lived a life of integrity? If I've wronged any of you, tell me what I did wrong and I will make it right!' Free shot!
The community looked on and responded, "No, you've done the right thing, you are a person of integrity! You have been a faithful man of God."
More than anything else, at the end of my ministry, end of my career, and the end of my life, I want to be able to say, “Free shot! Did I do what I claimed to do?" You may say, "We didn't like you, your jokes were stupid! We didn't like your style! But, yes you were a person of integrity; your behavior matched your beliefs."
What does your life say about your integrity?
What do your actions say your integrity is worth?
If you lie on a resume to get a better job, your integrity is worth whatever that job pays.
Maybe you're married and finances are tight, and when you buy something new you hide it for a while. So when you bring it out and are questioned about it you can say “no, it’s not new. I’ve had it for a while.” That item is what your integrity is worth.
Satan was criticizing God's people and said to God, “You know they don't really love you, they're just faithful to you because you're good to them.”
God replied, “No, there are some who really love me.”
Satan said, “Who? Show me one!”
God answered, “Well, there's this one guy, he's full of integrity, I promise you he is faithful to me; his name is Job.”
Satan responded, “Give me a shot at him; let me see if he really loves you.”
God answered, “Take your best shot at him.”
So, Satan stripped Job of all of the things that really mattered to him. His friends turned on him and even his wife turned on him.
His wife complained, “Why are you hanging on to your integrity? Why don't you just curse God and die?”
His friends advised, “You know you've done something wrong. All of these bad things wouldn't be happening to you if you were a person of integrity. Quit claiming you are a person of integrity!”
But, Job said, “...I will not deny my integrity. I will maintain my righteousness and never let go of it; my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.” Job 27:5-6
What does your life say about your integrity? How do you behave when no one else is looking?