Proverbs 19:1 says, “Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.”
I remember playing a golf tournament one day with a few groups other guys. In this tournament we had a rule that we had to play the ball exactly how it lays. In other words you couldn’t move or roll the ball to improve your lie. Another rule was, if you hit the ball out of bounds you would be charged two strokes to put the ball back into bounds. While playing I noticed that the group behind me was not following these rules. I observed one golfer fix his ball into a spot that gave him a better lie so that he could get a better angle. The original lie was buried deep in the grass and more than likely would have caused him to hit the ball poorly. He did not know that I seen him improve his lie. He hit the ball with his new and improved lie and made a great shot. I also noticed the same golfer on another whole move his ball back into bounds, as he was a few inches out of bounds. Again, he did not know that I saw him do this either. At the finish of the golf tournament, the scores were being added up. Whoever had the lowest score was the winner. The winner was announced; the guy that I saw improving his lie and moving his ball back in bounds won by one stroke. He walks up with a smile on his face to receive his trophy. Did this golfer really win? No. I really was hoping that he would admit to everyone that he did not deserve to win because he did not play by the same rules as everyone else but unfortunately he did not. He took the trophy as if he were really a golf champion. But you and I know better than that. This man had lack of integrity. He knew very well that he did not deserve to be standing up receiving the champion’s trophy, but everyone believed that he was a true golf champion, but himself.
This brings me to a point I want to make on integrity. Integrity is not what others think about what you are or say but it is what you think about what you are or say. This golfer will think about this moment for the rest of his life. When people ask him about how he came to be a golf champion he will not be able to tell the story without a conviction inside, because he knows he did not deserve it. He knows that the other golfer that lost by one stroke was cheated of a golf championship because of his own lack own lack of integrity.
There are many other examples of integrity issues that we all know about. The truth is success without integrity is not true success. There is no real success that we can be proud of without integrity. On the contrary, when we have success with integrity, it is truly a success! We will not have to carry around a secret our whole lives but we will walk in pride, dignity and honor.