In his book, “Success Tablet,”Osita Kingsley wrote: “Nathaniel was surprised that Jesus knew him when he said to him ‘Behold an Israelite indeed in whom there is no deceit’ (John 1:47). Jesus spelt out his most charming and outstanding attribute, integrity; without deceit. Don’t ever think that people are ignorant of your level of integrity. They know. They just haven’t told you. People understand what they hear but believe what they see. First impression or last impression, integrity will speak. If not now, it will in the long run.”
As Osita rightly cited, Jesus pointed out Nathaniel’s most charming and outstanding value, integrity. The question is: “Why did Jesus Christ recognize Nathaniel’s attribute of integrity?” I believe the Lord did so to teach us that one of the most important virtues or values we need to build and live a meaningful life is the value of Integrity. And I concur with Osita when he said, “Don’t ever think that people are ignorant of your level of integrity. They know. They just haven’t told you.”
What is integrity?
Now,Orpah Gail Winfrey, better known as Oprah Winfrey who has been ranked the richest African-American, the greatest black philanthropist in American history and is currently North America’s first and only multi-billionaire black person has said that real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody is going to know whether you did it or not.Put differently, integrity is doing the right thing, even if nobody is watching.
In line with this definition of integrity by Oprah, Joseph of the Bible without argument was a man who possessed this core value called integrity. Without doubt, nobody would have known that he slept with the master’s wife if he had actually done so, but integrity held him back from doing it. Vibrating with the force of integrity, hear what Joseph said, “How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? (Gen. 39:9, KJV).” What others call an opportunity, Joseph saw it as an act of wickedness against God Almighty and his master, Portiphar because of integrity.
Furthermore, integrity is honesty and truthfulness. It is walking your talk no matter who is involved. It means matching your words with your actions. It is being the same person you claim you are in the open when you are in the secret. It is saying ‘No’ when you should and ‘Yes’ when you should regardless of WHO is involved or the benefits you stand to gain if you did the opposite. Integrity is accepting to fail successfully when you have the opportunity to succeed through deceit or dubious ways.
Without mincing words, integrity is irreplaceable; it has no substitute.
Competence cannot replace it. No matter how good you are at your job, or what you do, people won’t want to have any transaction or associate with you once they know they cannot trust you. Also, your beauty or handsomeness cannot replace it. If you are not truthful or honest in dealing with your partner, your relationship/marriage will not stand the test of time even if you have the look of an angel; Yes! What could replace integrity? Is it academic qualification, family background, social status, or eloquence? None of these can; not even wealth. Knowing that integrity is a Must-have value, then you you’ve got to build it.
The importance of integrity to building a happy better life cannot be overemphasized. On your pathway to greatness, integrity is a nitty-gritty. In every area of life, it is irreplaceable. In business, you need it to retain your customers and clients. In relationship or marriage, you need it to keep you and your partner together happily. In the workplace, you must build integrity to win the approval of your employer and colleagues. In leadership, you can’t do without integrity if your team must run with you to achieve your set vision or goals. What of ministry? The moment your members or followers discover you are not who you claim to be, you are as good as a total failure.
Come on, I can go on and on…
Integrity makes the pathway to success smooth to walk on, but the lack of it makes it slippery to tread upon (Proverb 10:9). The virtue of integrity will protect your image and reputation; it will shield you from enemies who are looking for an opportunity to hold you with a fault. See Daniel 6:4; his enemies who were envious of the height God placed him looked for an occasion to accuse him but they could not see any. Why? Because Daniel was a man of integrity; he was upright in every matter – doing the right thing whether someone was watching him or not.
Two important things about integrity…
There are two thing you need to know about integrity. First, integrity cannot be faked. I mean, you cannot pretend to have it when you don’t actually do. If you try it, sooner or later, you will be uncovered and the negative effect will be devastating.
Secondly: Integrity may not be found to be rewarding in the short-term. For instance, in the case of Joseph earlier cited, initially his integrity may seem to have put him in trouble as he was thrown in prison.
Another example is that of the three Hebrew young men who stood for what was right, not minding the consequence (Daniel 3). In these cases, integrity appeared to be of no gain, but in the long run, it was found to be a bedrock for building and sustaining good and lasting success. For their integrity, Joseph and the three young men were gainfully rewarded.
Obviously, it takes courage and sacrifice to uphold integrity but in the end, the pain is nothing to be compared with the gain. So the best decision you can take now as you read this piece is the decision to start building up the attribute of integrity. No matter how it has been, it is not too late to start.
Do you desire a happy better life? Do you want a lasting success in your career, business, studies, relationship/marriage? Do you want to be promoted by God before the eyes of your enemies as He did for Joseph, Daniel, the three young Hebrew boys (Shedrack, Meshach and Abednego), and many others too numerous to mention? Then decide today to practice and build the value of integrity.
Strive to do the right thing even when nobody will know that you did it or not. As Brian Tracy advised, “Always carry yourself as though everyone is watching, even when no one is watching.” No matter who is involved (relation, best friend, boss, etc.), refuse to compromise no matter what you stand to gain, or the abuse or criticism it will bring to you. It is better to be a friend of God than be a friend of multitude and be an enemy of God.
Be honest and truthful in your dealings with people. Do what you say and say what you do. Integrity do not make promises carelessly but very carefully, and it keeps to its words. Let your YES be YES and your NO be NO. If you know you cannot fulfill a promise, don’t make it in the first place, and if you have said you would, then ensure you do it. If you know you won’t meet up with the appointment or supply, don’t say you will.
If you already know you’re not going for the movement, don’t assure people that you are going. If you know you cannot make the call, pay the visit, etc., do not promise you will. When you clearly know that you can’t pay the debt, do not promise the creditor.
Do not accept the contract if you know you can’t meet the terms. If you know you will not marry him or her, then don’t propose. In brief, let integrity be your watch-word in everything you do.
In closing, remember the words of Osita, “Don’t ever think that people are ignorant of your level of integrity. They know. They just haven’t told you. People understand what they hear but believe what they see. First impression or last impression, integrity will speak. If not now, it will in the long run.” To achieve a lasting success in life, maintaining the attribute of integrity is a nitty-gritty; it’s a prerequisite for fulfilling the purpose of God for your life. So, grab it!
Thanks for taking your time to read. It shows your great determination to grow and become a happy better you. I hope this benefits you.
Keep striving to be a happy better you, unleash your fullest potentials and live your best life.
Oghovemu Daniel Okpu,