The difference between honesty and integrity – and why we need both.

| May 30, 2012 | 0 Comments

Michael Hyatt was talking about 5 attributes of authentic leaders in a recent podcast.  One of these is “Integrity”.  He explained it really well.  Integrity is when your actions are in line with your words.  In other words, you do what you say you will do, when you said you would do it.  You keep your promises.

Stephen Covey explains Honesty as the other way around.  Honesty is when your words are in line with your actions.  Honest people don’t exaggerate or lie.  They tell the story as it happened.  They tell the truth.

As Christians, we need to have both integrity and honesty.

What the Bible says about integrity:

There are many verses in the Bible that talk about integrity.  We’ve chosen a few from Proverbs.

Proverbs 10:9 ESV

Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.

Proverbs 11:3 ESV

The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.

Proverbs 28:6 ESV

Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.

Proverbs 19:1 ESV

Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.

Proverbs 20:7 ESV

The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him!

What the Bible says about Honesty:

Proverbs 12:22 ESV

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.

2 Corinthians 8:21 ESV

For we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of man.

Proverbs 6:16-20 ESV

There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching.

Proverbs 19:1 ESV

Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.

1 Peter 3:10-12 ESV

For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

Philippians 4:8-9 ESV

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

John 8:32 ESV

And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Why Christians need both:

From the scriptures above you can see that there are a number of benefits to having integrity and honesty.  In fact, it would be better to be poor or foolish with these character traits rather than to be wealthy or intelligent without them.

Christians are to live like Christ did and He was the ultimate picture of integrity and honesty.  His words and actions were always in line with each other.

Colossians 3:9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices

Lies and deception are parts of the sinful nature that we rejected when we chose to become followers of Christ.  As Christians this NEW life we lead should be evident in our words and actions.  By living honest lives and displaying integrity, others can see that our repentance and conversion is REAL.

James 1:26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.

This passage states it very simply.  Self-discipline is so important.  If you can’t control your tongue (by lying, gossiping or anger); you show that your religion is worthless.  Self-discipline is the way to living a life of honesty and integrity.

So may your words and your actions always show the blessed life that you lead.  Let people know you are honest by only ever using truthful words.  Let people know you are a person of integrity by always following through on your promises.

 

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