In the cut and thrust of business, entrepreneurs are constantly seeking that “winning edge.” One corporation established as a requirement for its merchandise the following standard: “zero defects.” The level of excellence was set; the company would not tolerate a blemished product on the market.
The very nature of Christian integrity is that it calls us toward zero defects. When our actions, thoughts, words or deeds become compromised, Christian integrity becomes blemished.
It is only by the grace of God that such integrity can be attained. This is an inner disposition rather than a coded set of behaviors. Such a high criterion, however, is possible, and when engaged it can be a witness to the grace of Christ.
General Arnold Brown has written of The Salvation Army: “If we are to hope that as a movement we will last through the next century, let alone the next millennium, then our byword and our hallmark must be integrity.”
In due course, integrity will stand out in an influential way simply because it will be in contrast to so much else: “Become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe” (Phil. 2:15).
The essence of integrity is utter honesty. The word literally means “not a fraction.” In other words, there is wholeness between who we are and what we profess. It means we are for real. It answers the question, “What do you do when no one is looking?” There is a perfect match between our words and our deeds. In the language of the street, we “walk the talk.”
One can sense the desperate need for people of integrity in the world today. Many among the generation of young adults have become cynical regarding the notion that politicians or even church leaders are people of honest principle.
Into this uncertain moral climate every Christian has an opening to be a refreshing agent of the gospel, in the privacy of home and in the openness of the workplace.
Richard Munn, The War Cry