Is Selective Integrity a Common Trait?

According to Wikipedia, integrity is the practice of being honest and showing consistent and uncompromising adherence to strong moral and ethical principles and values.

In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions.

Integrity can stand in opposition to hypocrisy, in that judging with the standards of integrity involves regarding internal consistency as a virtue, and suggests that parties holding within themselves apparently conflicting values should account for the discrepancy or alter their beliefs.

The word integrity evolved from the Latin adjective integer, meaning whole or complete. In this context, integrity is the inner sense of “wholeness” deriving from qualities such as honesty and consistency of character. As such, one may judge that others “have integrity” to the extent that they act according to the values, beliefs, and principles they claim to hold.

It is unanimously agreed that integrity has to do with how someone lives their life. In this life we live, we face choices every day that only we can answer. We dictate how we run our own lives, and the way we run them defines us.

Integrity is doing the right thing versus the wrong thing. People, if nothing else, can always have their pride, their integrity. It is something that means a lot to some people and then nothing to others.

The ones who value their integrity highly are the good people in this world, and the opposite is true for those who do not value their integrity. (Source:

In this life of ours, most people practice integrity selectively. This means people exhibit integrity when it suits their interests. It is a popular and common trend in our societies. Jagon Thomas illustrated this trend in the following words:

“I’ve shared the story before in a sermon about a guy who a few years ago went through the drive-thru at KFC with his girlfriend and ordered a bucket of chicken.

An employee accidentally grabbed a bucket that had the night deposit in it filled with several thousand dollars and handed it out the window to the man. After leaving the man opened up the bucket of chicken to find the money instead. He returned to the store and gave the money back.

The manager was elated, the man could have driven away and gotten away with all that money, but he chose to be honest and return with the cash.

The manager wanted to call the newspapers and TV stations to do a story on the man’s honesty, but he refused do you know why? He did not want his wife to find out because he was married and the woman with him, his girlfriend was not his wife.

How can a man be so honest in one area of his life and return the money he could have gotten by with keeping, yet be so dishonest and cheat on his wife with another woman? It makes no sense, but people including me do that all the time in our lives.

We pick and choose areas we want to be honest and the areas we don’t. We pick and choose areas we want to give to God and the areas we want to control ourselves.

Meaning of integrity

A man can preach the truth and not tell it. Someone serves as a leader and role model in church, yet be a negative harsh supervisor at work. A woman can sing in the choir or worship team and have a voice that praises God, yet away from church she verbally abuses her husband and children.

Parents can teach their kids to be honest and tell the truth, yet they cheat on their taxes or lie about their kid’s ages when they take them to the movies. Someone can spread gossip and rumors about someone and they turn around and serve the hurting at a homeless shelter or nursing home.

I am not sure why we are this way, but we can be so excellent in some areas of our lives in serving, teaching, giving, and helping others, and then at the same time, we can lie, scheme, gossip, slander, have a negative attitude, or rebel against what we know is the right thing to do.

I for one don’t believe you can pick and choose when to have integrity you either have it or you don’t, but I do think some people are honest about their weaknesses, faults, and struggles, and others are in denial or think they are bigger than the truth or the rules don’t apply to them.

We all sin, we all fall short, none of us are perfect, but you have to decide whether you are going to be a person of integrity who admits when fail, sin, fall short, make poor choices, wrong decisions, use bad judgment, or just plain mess up. Instead, we want to deny, justify, blame shift, and make excuses.

It’s time we have integrity and learns from our mistakes, accept ownership, make amends, and live with the consequences. If not, we will continue to have selective integrity, which is really no integrity it all, because you either have it or you don’t.”

Elements of integrity

Quotes About Integrity

“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.” – Abraham Lincoln

“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” – Albert Einstein

“I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions.”- Lillian Hellman

“Living with integrity means: Not settling for less than what you know you deserve in your relationships. Asking for what you want and need from others. Speaking your truth, even though it might create conflict or tension. Behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values. Making choices based on what you believe, and not what others believe.” – Barbara De Angelis

“I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.” – Frederick Douglass

“Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.” – Oprah Winfrey

“As I have said, the first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself. Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but humility.” – Nelson Mandela

“It takes courage to create a meaningful life of integrity. It also requires good company. And practice.” – Shelly Francis

“One of your most prized possessions is integrity; if this is you, then you should never compromise it.” – Byron Pulsifer

“Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.” – Miguel Angel Ruiz

“Integrity is the ingredient that will enable you to forge rapidly ahead on the highway that leads to success. It advertises you as being an individual who will always come through. Whatever you say you will do, do it even if you have to move heaven and earth.” – Mary Kay