Everybody likes the idea of integrity. Not as many like the reality of the quality’s requirements. You can point to a success or list a position of influence but, if they haven’t been gained and maintained through integrity, then those successes and power points are no better than wood, hay and stubble.
Integrity is a key measure of a person’s qualification for ministry leadership in the local church. Integrity is a big deal because it’s a principle—a basic belief that governs behavior—in the Christian life. Integrity can be tough to discern because some people are very good at pretending to be more than they are.
The cool facts of integrity prove the authenticity of a claim. A plastic cup, for example, is not a crystal goblet. How do you know? A crystal goblet has specific characteristics that prove its authenticity. Crystal has a certain weight, a distinct ring when flicked with a finger and a specific look when held up to the light. Crystal is appreciated and cared for in a way that is distinctly different from plastic. A plastic cup lacks the characteristics of a crystal goblet. It lacks the marks of integrity that prove authenticity. It must not matter that a plastic cup loudly and persuasively claims to be a crystal goblet. It lacks the traits of crystal and, when added to the traits of plastic, mark it as an authentic plastic cup.
It’s much like that in a man of integrity, except he’s not inclined to claim crystal for himself (Proverbs 27:2). There’s a certain solidity demonstrated when you bump up to him in discussion, in matters that reveal heart and mind and spirit. He bears the marks of integrity that prove his authenticity as a mature and close follower of Christ. He’s authentic. He’s described in Psalm 15.
Getting a glimpse of a person’s integrity can be gained by asking a few key questions and listening thoughtfully to the answers. The person of integrity will have no worries about opening himself honestly in a discussion about integrity. He already knows Proverbs 10:9.
Here are several example questions:
- Do you do what you say you will do, even if it hurts you or causes you difficulty or pain?
- Do you ever pretend to be more than you are?
- Describe a difficult failure in your life.
- Do you accurately describe past successes or are you prone to exaggerate in order to impress others?
- What is the condition of your finances and your handling of money and possessions?
These answers to these questions and similar questions reveal whether a person is genuine and authentic, shades the truth to his advantage, is trustworthy or cunning, mean-spirited or charitable, or has allowed the Lord to teach him in failure.