Dear Precious Family of God,
In one of my early morning devotions on Periscope the subject of moral integrity came up; what is it and how do we live and apply it in our lives? I came across a blog written by Simon Lazarus that tried to explain it in what I would call laymen terminology that helped us get a better understanding on it. The problem with the blog is that it does not determine where moral values originate and define what morals values are. Unless there is a starting point one could go anywhere with it which would then clutter the origins and definitions with cultural precepts, social norms, past experiences and just about anything we want to throw in the mix. The blog reads as follows: “Moral integrity is a very abstract term. It refers to a moral value and an ethical notion which is complex by nature. Many philosophers and theologians have tried to explain and describe this concept for a long time. The most satisfying definition is that it is a virtue that lays the foundation for all other virtues and is therefore fundamental to all others.”
I would like to say it this way, “The definition of moral integrity is based on the love of God that lays the foundation for all other virtues and is therefore fundamental to behavior that governs consistent actions of love towards other.” The love spoken of here is the Greek word ‘Agape’. This is in reference to God’s love, it is God’s willful direction toward man. It involves God doing what He knows is best for man and not necessarily what man desires. For example, John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world, that he gave.” What did He give? Not what man wanted, but what God knew man needed, i.e., His Son to bring forgiveness to man. We see this best described in 1 John 4:7-13; (NASB) it says “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.”
Integrity can only fully be appreciated once the foundational virtue or moral value has been established and then it gives meaning to actions, methods, measures expectations and outcomes. Integrity as a whole is regarded as the accuracy of one’s actions in relation to the set virtue. Integrity can be regarded as the opposite of hypocrisy, in that it regards internal consistency as a virtue, and suggests that parties that seemingly hold conflicting values should account for the discrepancies or alter their beliefs. The word “integrity” stems from the Latin adjective integer meaning whole or complete. In this context, integrity is the inner sense of “wholeness” received from the love of God and is consistent with the character of Christ. As such we may observe that others “have integrity” to the extent that they act in accordance to the values, beliefs and principles that Christ delivered to us through salvation.
The value system of Kingdom of God is based on the love of God demonstrated through the life of Christ towards us, God’s creation. The depth and range of its application may be identified as moral integrity; that ‘God stands over His Word to perform it’. No matter what man did over the centuries God maintained his moral integrity by fulfilling His promise to man to be his savior. We measure our own moral integrity by our ability to hold to God’s value system in the midst of the trials and the challenges of life that desire to draw us away from doing what is right in the sight of God and toward others. Jesus expressed moral integrity this way, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Consistent in virtue and compassionate in action.
Trust that this has blessed you as it has me. Trying to define moral integrity over the years has led to all a lot of speculation and sentimental garbage, getting our definition from the word of God gets us back on track and living a consistent life in Christ that glorifies the Father. Continue to walk in the love of God and allow His love to flow to others. We pray that you prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers.
All our love,
Pastors Gerri and Michelle Di Somma.