To be trustworthy in all of life’s situations is to have integrity. To have integrity is to maintain the kind of character and reputation that leads to personal success, happiness and peace within oneself and with other people. A person who chooses to develop and maintain personal integrity in all of their relationships automatically seasons relationships with trust and can easily be at peace in all situations.
Integrity is the most important personal value in any society and, in that society, it begins with individuals. Without the quality of character found in individuals with integrity, a society cannot grow and develop in a positive direction. Instead, the society will be filled with crimes, confusion, fear and corruption at all levels of family, leadership and government. Only when there is personal integrity within many individuals in a society of any size can there be positive and helpful relationships among individuals and groups of people and government entities.
“I give you my word,” is said often by many people, especially male adolescents and adults in America, and perhaps in all countries of the world. After speaking those words, too many young adults and adolescents living today immediately forget what they have said. They do not attach the same meaning and response that their listeners do. Their follow-up actions are the opposite of what they have said. They are not honest, not trustworthy; and clearly, without integrity. When people around them realize that the individual does not “keep his word”, they conclude that he does not have integrity. In other words, their “word” has no value and they are of bad character.
Eventually, the individual who lacks integrity has no true friends, only people around him who are similar in their relationships. One group of such people that relate to each other out of total dishonesty is a group of fellow-druggies; that is, a group of individuals addicted to illegal drugs. During the past three years I have interacted with and observed the interactions of such a group. They include eight to ten "street people" who share two things: drug addiction and homelessness. In many ways they help each other survive homelessness; however, they have all lied to each other often on matters related to money and illegal drugs. According to what some have told me, they know who lies and they say they have lied to others as well. Lying, dishonesty, thievery are indications of a lack of integrity among them as individuals and within their "mini-society" which is extremely dysfunctional.
When someone who values their personal integrity says to another person, “I give you my word” or “I promise” or “I swear”, that person can be trusted. Anyone, who has a relationship with such a child, adolescent, man or woman, can be expected to treat that individual with respect because integrity is one of the greatest values for people.
A person who chooses to have integrity is of good character. Both the give and take in such relationships just naturally leads in the direction of happiness and peace. One by one, individuals with personal integrity improve the quality of their own lives, the lives they touch each day, and their society as a whole.
That person not only receives but also shows respect, trust and appreciation in their relationships.