Objectives

  • To define integrity as understood Biblically.
  • To distinguish between reputation and honesty (integrity).
  • Factors that influence/challenge integrity (peer pressure, reputation).
  • To help the students understand the chief areas of integrity (money, sex, power).
  • To help identify factors that assist to live a life of integrity (relationship with God).

Introduction

Integrity means to put pieces together as a whole. It is the opposite of disintegration, meaning compartmentalisation which leads to hypocrisy and inconsistency. The Latin adjective integer means whole or complete.

“The word integrity… [Suggests] a person whose life is whole or wholesome. In modern slang we say, ‘He’s got it all together’” - R. C. Sproul

To quote Dr. Kenneth Boa, “Ethics refers to a standard of right and wrong, good and evil. Morality is a lived standard of right and wrong, good and evil. Integrity means “sound, complete, and integrated.” To the extent that a person’s ethics and morality are integrated, that person has integrity.” It means that what we say and what we do, what we are in private and what we are in public have all to be consistent.

Our God is a God of integrity. He has absolute internal and external consistency. He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). His name is Yahweh, which means I am who I am (Exodus 3:14). He delights in those with integrity (Proverbs 11:20, Psalm 15:2).

Questions

  • Role play 1:-John is a talented Christian and everybody in the fellowship enjoys it when he leads worship. However, he is addicted to pornography.  Even though, he feels guilty, he gives an impression to his mentor and friends that, all is well with him with an appearance of purity in his life. Explain John’s problem. What do you suggest should be John’s course of action?
  • Role play 2:- Mary overslept on a Sunday and missed church. The following Sunday, when she was asked by her pastor about her missing church she said, ‘I had a bad headache yesterday’ which was partly true because she indeed had a headache on Sunday evening (but not in the morning). What are the common explanations, excuses and exaggerations used by people? What about ‘white lies’? Breaking commitments/promises?
  • Can you identify a few areas in which people often lose integrity?
  • What was their problem?  2 Samuel 13:1-22- Absalom; Matthew 18:1- disciples; Luke 22: 47 – Judas.
  • Differentiate between character and reputation. What is God interested in? Psalm 51:6, 1 Sam 16:7.
  • How could David (can we) receive attestation from God as a man of integrity? 1 Kings 9:4, Psalm 26:1.
  • How can we live a life of integrity? 

Leader’s notes

  • Pornography is a sin. John’s problem is not only addicted to sin, but also not dealing with the sin is problem. Our God is a forgiving God. He is glad that nobody knows about his sin. He does not have integrity. 

John is more worried about his reputation than his character. He should work on his inner character than his reputation. He should seek help from his mentor. He should be open to share his vulnerabilities.

  • Explanations and excuses are generally used to justify our actions. Exaggerations to get some benefit out of them. White lies are those lies which are often trivial, diplomatic or well-intentioned untruths.
  • How about the songs used in worship – do you mean what you sing? How about teasing others/ragging juniors? Keeping appointments and being in time for class. Copying in exam, copying your assignments is a breach of trust in you. Professional integrity is about being true to your work in terms of knowledge, expertise and practice.
  • Absalom – Sexual life , Disciples – power ,  Judas – Money matters
  • Character is ‘being’ when reputation is ‘seeming’. Character is what you are and reputation is what others think you are. Character is what is real, what you are when you are alone, remains in small things as well as big and is shown in the face of provocation.
  • Jesus was very much opposed to hypocrisy and appreciated those who did not hide their weaknesses. For example, Zacchaeus (Luke 19:8, 9). To deal with our inconsistencies, we have to first recognise their presence and pray for His grace.  Acknowledging God in his life, aiming to live by God’s standards and not justifying wrong doings was the reason for God attesting David as a man of integrity (1 Kings 9:4).
  • Continuously work on in our inward character than outward appearance or reputation. Continuously acknowledge the sins we commit. Repent and be an overcomer.

Acknowledgements

  • The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2011.
  • www.bible.org/seriespage/integrity