The common definition of integrity is doing what is right when nobody is looking. Why does it matter if someone is looking?
People will steal if they think they can get away with it.
Surveys say that’s true, and I agree. A good alarm system is no deterrent for thieves who believe they can get in and out without being caught. They’re smart. The risk must be justified by the value of whatever they’re after.
If there’s no consequence, getting caught doesn’t matter.
Employees can take extra time for lunch and breaks as long as the boss thinks they’re doing a good job. They might spend time on the phone with a friend or talk for thirty minutes about sports with a coworker. If they walk home with a few office supplies, nobody will care. This is what we call “petty” theft.
Lying is justified by its value.
Nobody ever told a lie when they thought there was no benefit in doing so. People don’t lie, cheat, and steal for what it might cost them. They do it for the benefit, for the short-term reward.
Moses chose not to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.
Why didn’t he go for the pleasure of sin? Answer: the prize of his relationship with God was more valuable to him. Hebrews 11 gives us a long list of people who pursued the prize and died, never seeing it. But they will, because they believed God, who always keeps his promises. Therefore, integrity comes from recognizing the long-term value of righteousness and choosing not to enjoy the short-term benefit of sin.
To have integrity, we need to know better.
I might tell a lie if I thought I could get away with it. But I know better. My mind will never be sharp enough to remember what I said before and then cover it with more lies. I’m better off telling the truth, even when it hurts.
I can’t get away with stealing anything, no matter how insignificant others might think it is. Why? Because God sees everything I do. I can’t bear the thought of displeasing him, but there is another reason. Besides God knowing, I know, and I don’t want to live with a liar or a thief.
What others think doesn’t matter. God sees me, and I see me, and that’s an overwhelming reason to live with integrity.
A desire to always please the Lord will take you in the right direction. Doing something else to please yourself will lead to destruction. — Proverbs 11:3, The Discussion Bible