Jesus said, “…you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness… Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves…” (Matthew 23: 28 & 31a)

Jesus was warning that appearances can be deceitful. He used a word from the world of drama to describe persons who pretend to be something they are not. It was the Greek word “hupokrites” and is translated “hypocrite.” It described a play actor.

Ours is a theatrical society.  Many engage in the role of the great pretender. Synonyms for integrity are “honesty” and “faithfulness.”

For years the Marine Corps has had as its motto “Simper Fidelis.” meaning “always faithful.” America has major moral and ethical problems today because integrity is missing in the boiler-rooms, barrooms, board-room, bargaining-rooms and bedrooms.

A lack of integrity has resulted in the coining of the term “sleaze factor.” A lack of integrity has resulted in social decay in America.

During the Korean War one of our officers, General Dean, was captured. Day after weary day he was teased and tortured. More than once he was threatened with death. One occasion arrogant guards burst into his cell telling him he had less than an hour to live. They thrust paper and pen on him and told him he had only a few minutes to write a farewell note to his wife before his execution. He had no reason to doubt them. General Dean and his wife had one son named Bill. As the general concluded the letter he did so by asking his wife to give Bill a message for him. He wrote, “Tell Bill the word is…” Suppose you were writing such a letter and could fill in the blank with one word. What would it be? He chose to conclude by saying, “Tell Bill the word is integrity.”

Integrity simply means “You can count on me, I’ll keep my word. I’ll be true.” That is it. I am not for sale at any price.”

Integrity is Martin Luther standing before his accusers who believe they have the power to banish him to hell and threatening to do so, but offering him pardon if he will recant his faith and him saying, “Here I stand, I can do naught else.”

Integrity is a teenager willing to fail a test rather than to compromise and cheat.

Integrity is an adult saying no to alluring sexual enticement rather than compromise and break the heart of his Heavenly Father.

Integrity is a consistent character that won’t compromise even if circumstances make it easy and the potential for ill-gotten gain is great.

Integrity is a “not for sale” sign on the cover of your book of moral codes.

Integrity is saying, “Hear I stand Jesus, you can count on me.”