If different virtues were different levels of coolness, Integrity would be the coolest. Integrity is strong on his own. He has decided who he is and he doesn’t budge for anyone or anything. Integrity even keeps others in line with principles of truth. Integrity definitely isn’t paralyzed by what people think. Integrity is powerful.
I’ve always wanted to have Integrity on my team.
But how do you gain Integrity? How do you become full of integrity?
As teenager, a youth leader at church told me that integrity is who you are when no one is watching. Now, I think I would modify it slightly: Having Integrity is being true to who you are regardless of who is watching.
Quick! 50 points to whoever knows who this is:
(Let me know in your comment below if you knew this guy.)
This is the Backson. He is from a Winnie the Pooh movie. He is scary and hilarious and is also the reason you have holes in your socks. (if you still would like to know more, here is a little song about him)
When my son was three, this is who he wanted to be for Halloween. I wanted him to know that he would be explaining to everyone who he is dressed up as. So I told him, “Isaac, no one will know who you are!”
His response taught me a lot about integrity…..
“That’s okay, Mama. I know who he is.”
Talk about being totally unconcerned with what people think!
Isaac, my 3 year old Backson.
There are few things more exhausting in life than constantly managing one’s reputation. Everything you do and say must be tailored to meet the moment and you must live up to someone’s expectations of you, not to mention remembering which people know which parts of you.
But there is one more aspect to Integrity. People with integrity do care what God thinks of them. Integrity is linked to a higher power. People with integrity have linked themselves to God, taken the name of Jesus upon them, and they will not be moved from that place.
Listen to what Elder Lynn G. Robbins taught at the last General Conference:
When people try to save face with men, they can unwittingly lose face with God. Thinking one can please God and at the same time condone the disobedience of men isn’t neutrality but duplicity, or being two-faced or trying to “serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24; 3 Nephi 13:24).
Elder Holland spoke at West Point in 2010 and said:
You will remember from your junior high math class that an integer is a whole number, a number without fractions. In that spirit I wish to speak of soldiers who are whole, soldiers who are not fractured or fragmented in their character, soldiers who are, as one scriptural prophet said, true to themselves, to their country, and to their God “at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death” (Mosiah 18:9). Integrity, in my own homely definition, is to do the right thing at the right time for the right reason—at any cost.
Do we have fractures in our character that splinter us from the whole soul God intends us to be?
For example… think of who you are when you are driving. Now think of who you are when you are talking with a friend at church. Now think about how you act with the cashier at the store as he or she helps you complete your purchase. Now think about how you are around your family. Are you equally happy, kind, involved, respectful and thoughtful in all those situations?
It is not an easy thing to be the same person with all we meet….sometimes I imagine that in heaven, God will call a few people together that I interacted with in my life. Will any of them disagree with the others’ evaluation of me? Will the lady at the store think I am as good-hearted as my friend thinks I am? Will the police man who gave me a ticket vouch for me being as respectful as my professor would?
One last story and then today’s smore:
For a year while a student at BYU, I worked for the dining services. One week after attending one of the best Tuesday campus devotionals I had ever heard, I happened to be manning the lemonade table at a VIP BYU administrator luncheon when we ran out of lemonade momentarily. The speaker at the previous week’s devotional came up to the table and demanded to know why and how the lemonade table could possibly run out of lemonade. I apologized, explained and then I couldn’t let the moment pass without telling her how much I learned from her talk the week before. Looking back, it was an awkwardly placed compliment, to say the least.
Her demeanor changed immediately, she said thank you and went back to her table.
After about 15 minutes, she returned to the lemonade table (which was happily giving out lemonade again). She apologized to me and politely asked for my forgiveness.
Lack of integrity ruins what we’ve said and done, no matter how great. Integrity crowns what we’ve said, solidifying our stance with the veracity of our character.
Here is the accompanying study s’more. Enjoy!
p.s. Thank you for all who have subscribed! Its nice to know what I enjoy doing goes straight to someone who wants to study this too. =) Thank you for joining me on this!
S: (Prayer/Ask) What is integrity? How does having integrity bring me closer to Christ?
- Read these examples from Elder Robbins. Pick one example and read the cited scripture verses, plus a few before and after for context.
Courage is not just one of the cardinal virtues, but as C. S. Lewis observed: “Courage is … the form of every virtue at the testing point. … Pilate was merciful till it became risky.”1 King Herod was sorrowful at the request to behead John the Baptist but wanted to please “them which sat with him at meat” (Matthew 14:9). King Noah was ready to free Abinadi until peer pressure from his wicked priests caused him to waver (see Mosiah 17:11–12). King Saul disobeyed the word of the Lord by keeping the spoils of war because he “feared the people, and obeyed their voice” (1 Samuel 15:24). To appease rebellious Israel at the foot of Mount Sinai, Aaron crafted a golden calf, forgetting which way he faced (seeExodus 32). Many of the New Testament chief rulers “believed on [the Lord]; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:42–43). The scriptures are full of such examples.
- Next, consider Elder Robbins’ contrasting examples.
First, Mormon: “Behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear” (Moroni 8:16; emphasis added).
Nephi: “Wherefore, the things which are pleasing unto the world I do not write, but the things which are pleasing unto God and unto those who are not of the world” (1 Nephi 6:5)
Captain Moroni: “Behold, I am Moroni, your chief captain. I seek not for power, but to pull it down. I seek not for honor of the world, but for the glory of my God, and the freedom and welfare of my country” (Alma 60:36).
- How would I rate my own integrity? A good way of doing this might be thinking of people from one area of your life and imagining them joining you in a separate area of your life. (example, work people at church with you, church friends at home with you during the day)
- Sometimes Christ would be sharp with certain groups of people but unfailingly kind to other groups of people. Think about how this difference in treating people does not constitute a lack in integrity.
- What is difficult about gaining more integrity? What keeps us from being perfectly full of integrity?
R: (Write) your thoughts, what you learned, impressions you received, and anything else in your scripture journal (include your thoughts on the study session question: What is integrity? How does having integrity bring me closer to Christ?) Also consider writing down the following:
- Think of someone who you feel is full of integrity. Write down a few things about this person that you think gives you this feeling about them?
- Write a short list of the places you find it hardest to be who you really are or groups of people you find it difficult to be your real self around.
E: (Prayer/Thank)- thank God for what you’ve learned and ask if there is anymore.
The Challenge: In a place (or group of people) from your list above, make a concerted effort to say or do things that reflect who you are. Be sure to pray for help as you make strides in improving your integrity.
click here for more information on s’more scripture study method