Invest in Integrity

Photo by Hassan Pasha on Unsplash

When you say you are going to do something, do it. We should not be people who carelessly use words and make empty promises, only to not act on any of them and live a life of ambiguity. It does not look well on a person to use words without actions to reinforce them. It shows an emptiness in your words, but more importantly, it shows a lack of character.

One of the driving factors behind action is integrity. As I’ve studied the scriptures, watched people interact in the workplace, and grow relationships with friends, I’ve been more and more concerned with the idea and importance of integrity. It’s a word that is thrown around so much that I think it sometimes loses its value. But what does having integrity actually mean? There are several traditional ways to define it. Doing the right thing even when no one is watching. Doing the right and noble thing just because it is the right and noble thing. Doing what you ought to do.

Here is how Merriam Webster defines it: a firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values. If you look at integrity through a series of dictionaries, you will generally get the idea of consistently holding to values, supported by a secondary definition of being whole or undivided. All of these different definitions point to a deeper meaning, because an adherence to morality means that there are actions rooted in those values. You cannot judge everyone’s values the same, but you can hold an individual to their actions. You can assess their ability to follow through on what they believe and hold them accountable to their promises. Values are what a person wants to believe, but what they believe is ultimately revealed by action. If the action does not match the belief stated in words, the belief is not actually real.

Integrity comes down to character. It is being able to live in a way that is consistent with your beliefs. While we can never to hold to our values perfectly, it does not mean we cannot hold each other accountable to our values. When we mess up, which we all do, we should be quick to confess and apologize. For transparency, too, is integrity. Admit it and move on.

If you typically make many promises, goals, and encouragements to others without ever following through, think again. Contemplate your words and consider whether or not your life can actually live up to them. If not, your words are not worth it. People should trust you when you say yes and when you say no. Whatever it is that you value most, live it out and let your words speak of it in honesty. As King Solomon once noted, “It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it. Do not let your mouth lead you into sin…Much dreaming and many words are useless.” (Ecclesiastes 5:4–6a,7)

As all great mothers and fathers have told us before: think before you speak. Let your actions defend your words, not the other way around. Live a life of integrity, and you will experience a life of freedom.

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Paul Keefer

Writer, teacher, and lifetime kid. I post an article every Monday morning on self-improvement and inspiration. Check out my writing and book @ paul-keefer.com