Why is Good Character and Integrity So Important?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, July 28, 2014 0 comments

by Katie Erickson
I think we would all agree that good character and integrity are important in life. But the question of why these are important has a few different answers, depending on the authority in your life. We’ll look into these answers in today’s blog post.

Now, when I use the word “authority” in this way, I don’t mean an authority like the government or your parents who make rules for you. We all have an authority in our lives whether we acknowledge it or not. Our authority is whatever we use to make decisions in life, basically what defines our worldview. How you know what’s right and wrong? Your authority tells you, whether that is the laws of society, or the Bible, or something else entirely. Personally, the Bible is my authority because that is how I know what God wants me to do (and not do) in my life. God created the universe, so who better to learn the rules of the game from.

Before we can understand why these traits are important, we need to understand what they are. Character is defined as “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.” Good character, then, would be having good mental and moral qualities. Integrity is defined as “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.”

So, back to the question at hand. One answer for why good character and integrity are so important is because of selfishness. Think about it - we all want those around us to have good character and integrity so they treat us well and we benefit. If someone around you does not have integrity and they rip you off, you get mad and upset, right? People with bad character and a lack of integrity are negative influences on our lives, whether because they treat us poorly or because those characteristics rub off on us. We also often live with good character so people will look at us and see how good we are; selfishly wanting to be praised for what we do and how we live. However, this selfish mindset is very much a worldly one. We are all human and experience such selfish desires, but if God is our authority (rather than the world), is this what He wants for us?

If your authority is the God of the Bible, then your attitude about good character and integrity should be different. The message of the Bible is that we should be like Jesus, who is the prime example of good character and integrity for our lives. We want to be like Jesus to honor God, the one who created, redeemed and sustains us. If we live our lives with good character and integrity, we honor God and glorify Him through our lives. If, on the other hand, we live with immoral or bad character and a lack of integrity, then God is dishonored. As followers of Jesus Christ, our goal is to give God glory and to let Him be seen through us - this can only happen if we live with good character and integrity.

But how do we live with good character and integrity? There are some basic rules to follow for good character given in Exodus 20:1-17, also known as the Ten Commandments. The verse that I believe sums up integrity is James 5:12 which says, “But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment.” If integrity is the quality of being honest, then this is the best way to do that. When you say yes, mean yes; when you say no, mean no. Stick to your word, and more importantly stick to God’s Word and Jesus’ example of how to live on this earth. If people see that your word is good, then they will see your integrity, and God will be glorified through that.

So why is good character and integrity so important? If your authority is the world, then it’s so we can selfishly be treated well, and so people can look at us as good people. If your authority is God and His Word, then it’s so God can receive glory through our lives.

How are you living your life - to give yourself the glory, or to give God the glory?